\ Brown, r ^. A.
At the Butterfly House
v- M i '.,Y
j Brown, E . A,.
At the Butterfly House
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AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
EDNA A. BROWN
Price per volume Net $1.35.
UNCLE DAVID'S BOYS
WHEN MAX CAME
ARNOLD'S LITTLE BROTHER
ARCHER AND THE "PROPHET"
THE SPANISH CHEST
AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO., BOSTON
" Stop prancing, you crazy dervishes, and tell us where you
found it. " — Page 356.
EDNA A. BROWN
ILLUSTRATED BY JOHN GOSS
*» £04 »'*'
LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO.
Published, August, 1918
By Lothbop, Lee & Shepard Co.
All rights reserved
AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
BERWICK & SMITH 00.
U. 6. A.
" Isn't there going to be another story like
the Four Gordons ! ' ' the letters asked. ' ' We
love all your books, but that one best of any.
Please write another, just an every-day
story, about boys and girls who live in a little
town as we do, and go to church and public
school like us, and have to make their own
good times at home."
Well, — here is the story, the "every-day
story," and the author dedicates it with love
to all the young people who care about her
I Aunt Nancy's Will 11
II The Cottage on Thorn 23
III Cart Sees the Butterfly 33
IV New Friends 51
V RlDGEFIELD HlGH SCHOOL 68
VI Aunt Nancy's Secretary 80
VII A Committee Meeting 99
VIII A Hunting Chapter 109
IX One Monday . 123
X Harvest Supper 136
XI Kitty's Wedding 149
XII The Prize- Speaking 161
XIII Off on Snow-Shoes 176
XIV Through the Storm 190
XV Cloud Mountain Camp 207
XVI Morning on Thorn 221
XVII Candace Plans 232
XVIII An Express Package 243
XIX Cary Attends a Lecture . . . . . 254
XX Van Visits the Library ...... 267
XXI Current Events Class 277
XXII On Ridge Road ........ 287
XXIII Van's Evening ........ 297
XXIV A Trying Saturday . . ^ . . . .308
XXV Cary Goes Shares 319
XXVI A Mysterious Stranger 331
XXVII Cousin Anthony Comes 339
XXVIII Candace has a Letter 355
"Stop prancing, you crazy dervishes, and tell
us where you found it." (Page 356) . . Frontispiece
"Some day, I think my fortune is coming on the morn-
ing train." 32
"Would you mind telling me what you expect to find
in that water?" 56
TFwo hours later found the four still pressing on
through woods that seemed endless 190
The next moment a man stepped into the room . . . 210
Mr. Richards emerged from the stack to find Van pick-
ing himself out of a chaos of books 276
AT THE BUTTERFLY
i CHAPTEE I
AUNT NANCY *S WILL
Had Cary Dexter not been so busy with all
the responsibilities belonging to the exalted
position of freshman class president in the
Girls ' High School, she might have noticed that
both her father and mother were unusually pre-
occupied during the early summer. At inter-
vals it did strike Cary that they sat up late talk-
ing and consulting over letters that seemed con-
stantly coming, but these impressions were soon
erased when Cary returned to the really im-
portant affairs of life. Dad, head of the mathe-
matical department in the big Technical School,
was always busy and hurried toward the end
of term. That he should be absent-minded was
nothing unusual, but more than once, Cary
found her mother sitting with idle hands, or
12 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
amusing little Christine at hours when she was
ordinarily occupied with paint-brush or draw-
One afternoon, coming in rather earlier than
customary, she was surprised to hear her
father's voice in the library.
"Why, you're home first, Daddy,' ' she said,
appearing in the doorway. ' ' How did you get
here so soon?"
"Examinations,' ' replied her father. "The
schedule, as you know, is all upset. I have been
free since eleven. Come in, Cary, and join our
council. Mother and I think our big girl should
count in our plans."
Cary dropped her books in a chair by the hall
door and came to the couch where her father
"What is it, Daddy?" she asked, cuddling
close to him. "I thought our vacation was all
settled. Has anything happened!?"
"We weren't talking of vacation just now.
Cary, I have been offered the principalship of
the High School in a small town. Shall I ac-
Cary looked questioningly at her father, alert
and rather boyish in appearance, with a tall,
AUNT NANCY'S WILL 13
spare figure and clean-shaven face. Only a
few gray hairs gleamed on his brown head, and
his keen eyes were offset by a pleasant smile.
He was quite capable of thundering at a class
of boys in a manner that made them shake in
their boots, but he could also, as those same lads
knew, be a first-class playmate and comrade.
"But I thought you liked the Technical
High," Cary began. "Does it mean that we
should have to leave town? But of course it
does, — I needn't have asked. Is it somewhere
you want to go, Daddy ?"
Mr. Dexter looked at his wife with a smile.
"Our daughter hits the nail on the head, doesn't
she, Anne? Well, Cary, there are advantages
both ways. If we go, we shall live in a very
beautiful place in an extremely healthy location.
You and Christine will have an outdoor life and
all the fun of the country, combined with many
privileges that belong to a city. The school is
not large, perhaps two hundred pupils, but is in
excellent condition and standing, being a com-
bination of an endowed academy and a public
school. So far as money is concerned, the
change isn't worth considering, but — "
Again Mr. Dexter stopped and exchanged a
i 4 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
glance with his wife. Cary, looking up, caught
an odd little expression on her mother's face,
almost of hurt pride.
" Where is it, Daddy !" she asked at once.
"Ridgefield, Vermont," replied her father.
Cary gave an exclamation. * ' Not the Ridge-
field, where you lived with Great-aunt Nancy
when you were a little boy?"
"The very Ridgefield.' '
Cary looked utterly puzzled. "But I don't
understand," she said after a pause. "I've
never been there, and I thought — Mother once
said you didn't care to go back."
"I think you are old enough now to hear the
whole story, Cary," said her father. "You
know, of course, that my parents died when I
was a little fellow and that Aunt Nancy brought
me up. We lived in the old Dexter homestead
in Ridgefield, the ' Butterfly House,' as the whole
county has nicknamed it. ' '
"Why is it called that?" asked Cary at once.
"For a very good reason," said her father,
smiling. i l Since I have never mentioned it be-
fore, I believe I won't explain now, because if
we go to Ridgefield, you will enjoy discovering
it for yourself."
AUNT NANCY'S WILL 15
" Because the garden is full of butterflies ! ' '
queried his daughter.
" There 's a beautiful garden, but I never
knew that butterflies favored it above others.
You won 't get it out of me. Well, Aunt Nancy
was immensely proud of the place and always
kept it in perfect condition. It stands on the
main street of the village, an old stone house,
one of the finest of its type in the State. I
lived there from the time I was seven years old,
attended Bidgefield Academy, went away to col-
lege, but spent all my vacations with Aunt Nancy
and considered it my home. Aunt Nancy was
peculiar in many ways but I was very fond of
her and she was fond of me. After I married,
she insisted that we should come that summer
just as usual and she appeared devoted to your
"We had no other near relatives, just a dis-
tant cousin, living in the west, and as I was
Aunt Nancy's only nephew, and practically her
adopted son, it was natural that I should ex-
pect the Butterfly House to become my prop-
erty after her death. Had she left no will, it
would have come to me by law, but she left a
will, and a strange one it was. ' '
16 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
Mr. Dexter paused for a moment. His hand
was absently caressing Cary's but he was look-
ing at his wife.
"In her will," he went on, "she left me the
old mahogany secretary she had used and all
its contents. Examination showed absolutely
nothing of value in it, merely old letters and
some worthless papers."
"But, Daddy," interrupted Cary, "there was
a secret drawer, of course. Didn 't you find it ? "
' ' Of course there was a secret drawer, — three
of them, in fact, — but they held only some old
postage-stamps, worth about fifty dollars."
Cary looked dismayed. "I wish I could see
that desk," she remarked. "I should like to
hunt through it. Where is it?"
"Still in the Butterfly House. There was no
room for so big a piece of furniture in our apart-
ment here in the city. I satisfied myself that
nothing was concealed and the lawyers also in-
spected the desk. But that was not the only odd
thing about Aunt Nancy 's will. She left a queer
bequest to your mother, — nothing more nor less
than an old rag doll that had been played with
by little Dexters for over a century."
Cary looked wonderingly at her mother,
AUNT NANCY'S WILL 17
whose lips were curving into a smile which be-
came a laugh as she met the twinkle in Mr. Dex-
ter ? s eyes.
' i We can laugh about it now, Cary, ' ' she said,
" but fifteen years ago, it didn't seem funny to
us. I suppose Aunt Nancy put that in because
you were a few months old and she thought you
might enjoy the doll as much as many other
Dexter babies had done."
" Where is it? I don't remember having
it," said her daughter.
"That, too, is still in the Butterfly House.
The doll is bigger than you were then, and we
were feeling sore and unhappy. We left it in
its trunk in the attic. I suppose it is still there.
If we go to Ridgefield, perhaps Chrissy will
care for it. ' '
"But what did Aunt Nancy do with the
house V 9 asked Cary, turning again to her
"After those two bequests in her will, and
some provision for a faithful servant, she left
all other property to this distant cousin, An-
thony Davenport. Anthony is a man of means,
and did not care for the Butterfly House. He
had never been there and the associations meant
1 8 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
nothing to him. He felt that the will was pe-
culiar, not to say unjust, and he tried to ar-
range matters with me, but — well, that was fif-
teen years ago. There is a difference between
the hurt pride of twenty-five and the wider
vision of forty,' ' said Mr. Dexter reflectively.
' ' Anthony has always had the place looked after
and more than once has offered me the free use
of it, but I never felt like going back even for
a summer, nor did your mother. We cared for
Aunt Nancy and she for us. We always felt
that she meant to place in the secretary some
papers that were not there. ' 9
"But it seems as though there must be some
hidden drawer that you didn 't find, ' ' said Cary
' ' No use, little girl, ' ' said her father, smiling.
' ' More than a few brains and many an hour have
been spent over that piece of furniture. Don 't
go to Ridgefield, expecting to accomplish what
wiser heads than yours couldn 't manage. Your
mother and I no longer feel hurt about it; we
simply think that Aunt Nancy's plan, whatever
it was, miscarried. The Butterfly House will
not be ours until I buy it back from Anthony,
as I may some day. But to return to our pres-
AUNT NANCY'S WILL 19
ent discussion. The man who has been prin-
cipal of the Eidgefield High School died sud-
denly this spring. The committee has offered
me the position, with a free hand in managing
things and introducing improvements. An-
thony heard of the offer and has written me,
urging me to go back and to occupy the Butter-
fly House again.' '
"Back where everybody knows you," said
Cary reflectively. "Daddy, didn't people think
Aunt Nancy's will was queer?"
"Indeed they did, little daughter. I was
urged to contest it and assured that it might be
broken, especially since Anthony announced
that he would not oppose any action. It was
good, practical advice, but I didn't want to do
it, and your mother agreed with me. I shall al-
ways believe there was some miscalculation in
Aunt Nancy's plans. But that is entirely of
the past. Shall we go to Eidgefield and live
in the Butterfly House, Cary?"
"Oh, I should love it," Cary began, but
stopped short. "Only I should miss the girls
and school. Why, Daddy," she added sud-
denly, "I should have you for a teacher. How
funny ! ' '
20 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
" Would it not be?" agreed her father mis-
chievously. "Perhaps you might find it an in-
teresting experience. But there will be plenty
of young people at Ridgefield, and if they are
like those of my day, you will enjoy them. No,
it isn't a boarding-school in any respect, though
some students from other towns may board in
the village in order to attend the school. Years
ago, it was one of a large number of endowed
academies in small New England towns, but as
the public school system spread, this was ab-
sorbed. It used to be called Ridgefield Acad-
emy, but is now just the town High School and
is known as that."
"Do you want to go, Mammy V 9 Cary asked
"I want to do what is best," said Mrs. Dex-
ter. "We have been talking about it for some
time, Cary, though we would not wholly decide
until we told you. In many ways, I shall like
to go, for I have delightful recollections of the
summer I spent there. But I feel that your
father is the person to settle the matter. As
I remember the house and the town, both are
charming. We shall miss our city friends, but
there will be many compensations."
AUNT NANCY'S WILL 21
Cary's eyes fell on her little sister, content-
edly playing with her dolls and toy dishes.
"The garden used to be wonderful/ ' said
her mother, following the direction of her
glance, "a garden where fairies ought to live
and do live, if there are any left in the world.
There would be flower dollies for Christine and
a kitten and other things we can't have in a
"And the big rag doll in the attic," put in
Cary, smiling as her mother kissed Christine's
flossy head. * l Let 's go, all of us. I never lived
in a separate house, only in a block."
"The Butterfly House has beautiful big
square rooms," her mother began, but broke
off suddenly. ' ' Charles, there is the telephone.
It's probably for you, so you might as well go
in the beginning. ' '
Mr. Dexter left the room, and Cary suddenly
found herself included in the embrace her
mother was giving Christine.
"Cary, you're a dear," Mrs. Dexter whis-
pered. "Daddy does want to go, and it is best
that he should. But he would not let me say
anything to you beforehand, and if it was going
to be hard for you to leave school and the girls,
22 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
he would have let that count. Of course some
things will be difficult, but we shall have much
that the city can't give us and we shall not lose
our real friends. There will be vacations and
visits. Father says, and truly, that he no
longer feels the injustice of that will, but I feel
it for him, and so it has been harder for me to
see this offer without prejudice. But I know
that he wishes to accept, and we will make real
fun of it and enjoy living in the Butterfly
"Oh, I shall hate to leave the girls," sighed
Cary. "I was so interested in Aunt Nancy's
will that I didn't think of that. And I suppose
the High School will be very different."
"Yes," assented her mother, "but perhaps
you will like that. A smaller school always has
Cary was silent. She was quite sure that she
could never like any school so well as the one
where she had enjoyed the past year. But
all that Daddy said about Ridgefield was inter-
esting, and before September stretched a vaca-
tion full of promising pleasures. And why
was the old Dexter homestead known as the But-
THE COTTAGE ON THORN
Through the town of Eidgefield wanders a
pleasant river, at first scurrying over stones
in the shallows, but gradually deepening into a
stream strong and wide enough to do real serv-
ice in turning busy mill wheels. Away back in
the hills it has its source, and down the Ridge,
behind the town, come numerous smaller
streams that during spring freshets bring suf-
ficient snow and muddy water to menace some-
times the Main Street bridge. At the south end
of the town lies charming Crystal Lake and all
around rise the everlasting hills, green to
wooded summits or boasting well-cultivated
farm lands. The five mountains that form the
Ridge look down from imposing heights, some-
times lowering with storm and cloud, but al-
ways giving a sense of protection and brooding
Three-quarters up Thorn, the highest of the
24 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
five, at the end of a little-used cart-path, hides a
tiny unpainted cottage, so much a part of the
mountain in its grayness and obscurity that
only a sharp eye can discover it at any distance.
Indeed, the cleared fields about it alone betray
its existence, and those fields are not so clear
nor the farm so prosperous since Andrew Halli-
day was carried down the half-obliterated road
for the last time. Bushes and shrubs creeping
inward upon the clearing show the intention
of Thorn to take back to its bosom the little plot
of land so hardly wrested from it.
One September morning signs of life ap-
peared early about the gray cottage. First
came a few smoke wreaths curling upward and
presently the kitchen door opened and a tall
girl about sixteen appeared with a milk-pail
in her hand. She paused a moment to look at
the lake, glimmering under sunrise clouds, cast
a glance at drowsy Ridgefield, discernible in the
yet shadowed valley, and looked to the moun-
tain summit behind the house.
"Good-morning, old Thorny,' * she said
softly. "You haven't your night-cap on. Nice
old fellow !"
From a roughly built shack came the im-
THE COTTAGE ON THORN 25
patient low of a cow, causing Candace to hasten
her steps. Granny would get breakfast, their
very simple breakfast, but old Posy must be
milked and turned out in the rocky pasture,
stretching up the slope of Thorn. Indeed,
there was much to be done before Candace could
turn her attention to the important task ap-
pointed for the day. Posy attended to, the milk
must be taken down to John Park's house at the
very base of Thorn before the boys set off on
their delivery route. And to carry four quarts
of milk a mile down a mountain every morning
before six o'clock means a good appetite for
breakfast. The chickens must wait for theirs
until Candace returned.
But Granny Halliday was also astir early,
and by the time Candace came back, the fowls
were fed and the coffee-pot steaming.
"I don't see how you are going to manage the
milk after school begins," Granny said rather
anxiously as the girl sat down opposite her.
"You can't tramp down to Park's and come
home and then go back again 'way to Eidge-
"Listen, Granny," said Candace brightly.
"Mr. Park says the boys won't start so early
26 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
now the cool weather is coming. The milk
needn't be down till half -past six, and then I'll
keep right on to town, you see."
"But it won't take nearly three hours to walk
three miles, Candace," remonstrated the old
"No, Granny, of course not. I'm expecting
to get into Ridgefield about seven, and in bad
weather I can ride on the milk team. But Mr.
Park is going to speak to Mr. Baker about me.
His wife has been looking for somebody to help
her about the house, and if she wanted me, I
could put in two hours before school. I'll tend
to Posy and the hens before I start. Now,
Granny ! ' '
Old Mrs. Halliday was wiping a tear from
her cheek. "If your father had only lived!"
she sighed. ' ' Andrew couldn 't bear to see you
slavin' this way."
Candace shut her lips tightly. "Father
cared so much for an education, ' ' she said after
a pause. "Somehow I know he'd want me to
get mine, even if it meant doing harder things
than I plan." As she spoke she looked up at
some shelves of worn books. "I'm as strong
THE COTTAGE ON THORN 27
as an ox and as tough as a meat-ax, Granny,
and it won't hurt me."
"You are strong/ ' her grandmother admit-
ted, ' ' and of course your father wasn 't well and
everything went against him, no matter how he
tried. And then, just as he was getting ahead,
Will Pike persuaded him into goin' security.
Well, they all do it once. I'm proud that An-
drew didn 't squeal nor quit when Will ran away
and left him to shoulder it all. If that hadn't
come, Andrew would have had somethin' to
leave you to help get your education.' '
"Well, as it is, he has left me something,
Granny," said the girl quickly. "That's the
knowledge of what an education means and the
determination to have it. Father never had
the chance, but he read and knew about things
that were going on in the world. Even though
I couldn't attend school last winter, he read
with me and taught me, so I 'm sure I can enter
the second-year class at the High School."
"There's one thing," said old Mrs. Halliday
decidedly, "and don't you forget it, Candace.
Your ancestors crossed the Connecticut river
when this valley was a wilderness, and helped
28 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
settle Ridgefield. YouVe as blue blood in your
veins as any of the town boys and girls. It's
just misfortune that has kept you back. Your
family is as good as the Richards and the
Chapins, — yes, and the Dexters, too."
"That reminds me, Granny,' ' said Candace,
helping herself to more oatmeal. "You know
Charles Dexter is to take Mr. Wainwright's
place as principal of the High School. Last
night, Billy Park drove past the Butterfly House
and it was lighted, so he thinks some of them
"I knew Charles Dexter when he was a boy,
and a nice boy he was," mused old Mrs. Halli-
day. "How he did love Thorn! He'd come
up to see Andrew Saturday afternoons, — they
were in the Academy together — and off up the
mountain they'd go. No path nor nothin' but
they'd make a bee-line for the top. Charlie
married such a pretty girl, Anne Cary. She
was an artist and was always goin' round with
a pencil, makin' the cutest little sketches of
people. I don't know what kind of a house-
keeper Anne would turn out, but she 'd find time
to play with her babies whether she darned their
stockings or not. She and Charlie were at the
THE COTTAGE ON THORN 29
Butterfly House the summer after their wed-
ding. Charles came to old Nancy 's funeral and
stayed round Ridgefield a week, but neither of
them have been here since. He's another man
who didn't get what ought to come to him.
Nobody ever understood why Nancy didn't
leave him the Butterfly House, as he had every
reason to expect she would. There was a lit-
tle girl, — she must be about your age, Candace.
I wonder if there are any other children."
4 'Billy thinks there are two girls, one quite
a baby," Candace replied, her mind busy on
other matters. So the new principal of the
High School had been her father's friend!
Perhaps Mr. Dexter would know some way for
her to earn the money for college. That had
been her father 's dream, and when he knew that
for him it had forever faded, he brought back
the magic colors by dreaming it for Candace,
and encouraging her to see visions through his
eyes. College catalogues, obtainable for the
asking, were tucked among those old books.
Candace could have recited offhand the ex-
penses and requirements of each institution
for women, though their very names were to her
as the stars, shining but inaccessible.
30 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
"Just remember, Candace," her father had
said to her in one of the rare moments when
he was free from pain, "if you can get your
education, I'll be having one through you.
And it will be something nobody can ever cheat
you out of or take away. And remember, too,
that ' there's no such word as fail.' "
Candace remembered it, remembered all the
books read aloud in that little kitchen. Though
her father's long illness and Granny's need of
help kept her from school the previous winter,
now she had her chance, and surely if the new
principal had cared for her father, he would
be her friend, too. To his unknown damghter
she gave not a thought.
Candace was recalled from her reverie by
Granny 's voice, sounding afar off and speaking
of sleeves and collars. Candace came down to
earth with a thud, not, however, unpleasant.
Why, of course, there was a new dress to be
Having hastily cleared the table, she ran up
to her little attic room to return with the half-
"Is it going to be becoming, Granny?" she
asked, holding it before her. "I know I ought
THE COTTAGE ON THORN 31
to wear brown, because my hair is red, but all
the browns were ugly and this green was a
remnant, so I thought I ought to take it. And
you know I have two fifty-cent middies to wear
with my old blue skirt/ '
"Yes, child, it's becominV , said Granny,
speaking no more than the literal truth, for
Candace 's chestnut hair and red-brown eyes
looked very well against the soft green material.
1 * I'm as brown as an Indian with picking ber-
ries all summer, and my eyes are like muddy
water," the girl sighed, putting it down.
"Well, Granny, if you'll baste in the sleeves,
I'll wash these dishes and then hem the skirt."
"I wish we could afford somethin' more,"
said Granny, producing her thimble. "I'd like
you to have pretty things such as Janet Chapin
and Amy Richards will wear."
"This will be pretty," said Candace quickly.
"And if Mrs. Baker does want me to help her,
I shall spend the first money I earn in buying
you a new bonnet, Granny, so you'll have no
excuse when the Parks ask you to drive in to
church and hear Mr. Richards preach. Is that
the morning train?"
A spoon in her hand, Candace stepped to the
32 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
door to look down the valley. Around the
farther shore of Crystal Lake crept one of the
few trains that come up from the south and
connect Ridgefield with the more distant world.
Candace watched it skirt the lake shore, turn
towards the town, heard it come to a stand at
"There's something so romantic about a
train,' ' she remarked aloud. "Some day,
Granny, I think my fortune is coming on the
morning train. I can't say whether it will ap-
pear as a feather duster or as a nice young
man, but come it will. I suppose that every
single day brings a new experience for some-
body. ' '
On that especial day it was Cary Dexter to
whom the new experience was coming, and as
she descended from the Pullman, perhaps it
was not wholly accident that caused her to lift
her eyes to the Ridge. The girl on the slope of
Thorn could not see the one on the station plat-
form, nor could Cary, even had she known where
to look, have distinguished the cottage on the
mountain. Yet one looked up, the other down,
and, perhaps for a second, the sense of a com-
ing future touched the consciousness of both.
SOME DAY, I THINK MY FORTUNE IS COMING ON THE MORNING
train." — Page 32.
CARY SEES THE BUTTERFLY
Cary's arrival that September morning was
her first visit to the new home. July had been
spent as usual at the seashore, where she rowed,
fished, bathed, sailed, danced, and picnicked in
such a crowd of gay young people and such a
steady good time that the month seemed but a
week. Busy days of packing followed, for
though the Butterfly House was fully furnished,
its large rooms afforded ample space for what-
ever articles they chose to take from the city
Cary packed books till she lost count in a
dizzy sense of numbers ; she sorted her own pos-
sessions; she took little Christine for after-
noons in the park, while her mother directed ex-
perienced workmen in the apartment, and
Daddy made flying trips between the city and
Ridgefield, already absorbed in plans for the
34 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
new school. Just as the last box was ready and
the family was about to leave for Vermont,
Grandmother Cary demanded a visit from her
Cary was always ready to spend a week in
the quiet New Jersey town, so she went will-
ingly while the rest set their faces northward.
Now the visit was over, Uncle Jack had escorted
her as far as Boston, and Daddy would meet her
The dawn was yet early when Cary arose and
dressed that she might have an opportunity to
see the beautiful Vermont valley through which
the train was traveling. Trails of cloud ling-
ered on the soft green hillsides, hills possessing
a charming attraction of their own, quite unlike
the sterner slopes of New Hampshire. Many
lovely vistas were opened by the hurrying train,
glimpses of lake and river and wood, offering
enticing places for picnics.
After breakfast their way persistently fol-
lowed a river and before long the porter came
to take Cary's bag and say politely: " Ridge-
field next, Miss." Almost before she realized
her arrival, Cary had greeted her father rap-
turously, given that one glance up to the slopes
GARY SEES THE BUTTERFLY 35
of Thorn and was settling herself in a little
Eidgefield proved a pretty town, with public
buildings and shops surrounding an attractive
square and following Main Street for two
blocks. Then the street crossed the river to
become one of residences, cozy and attractive,
some of quite imposing character, but all bear-
ing witness to the prosperity of the place.
White houses stood discreetly separated from
the street by well-kept lawns, which stretched
behind to the river, where Cary caught glimpses
of an occasional boat or canoe.
In about five minutes they came to a big,
rather bare building set among dismal-looking
dark firs. Whatever merit its original archi-
tecture may have possessed was completely
ruined by two box-like wings at either end. A
dreadful suspicion entered Cary's mind, but
it had hardly taken form before she saw the old
inscription over the door: "Ridgefield Acad-
"Here's the school/' Mr. Dexter was saying.
Quite unable to speak, Cary stared at it.
Her father had spoken with a tone of interest,
even of real pride. "Eidgefield has sent out
36 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
some famous alumni," he added. "I hope we
shall continue to do so."
Too dismayed to put her feelings into words,
Cary looked in agonized silence. If that was
the outside of the High School, what could its
interior be? She opened her lips to ask a ques-
tion, but her father was busy returning the
greetings of passing people, all of whom nod-
ded and smiled cordially and glanced at Cary
with real interest.
"You seem to know everybody,' ' Cary ob-
served, forgetting her dismay over the appear-
ance of the High School.
"Bidgefield knew me as a boy," Mr. Dexter
answered. "Why, it is like coming home again.
I had no idea that people would be so pleased
to see me. Now, in a minute, you will see the
Butterfly House," he added as the car sped
swiftly up the wide, tree-shaded street.
Cary leaned forward, watching eagerly.
Soon they came to a big three-story stone house
with brick ends and an ell at the back. From
the front door a walk led directly to the street
and on either side of the door were bay win-
dows. A white-pillared porch stretched the
CARY SEES THE BUTTERFLY 37
whole of the western side, overlooking a yard
so extensive as really to merit the name of
"But, why— !" began Cary. "Oh/" she
exclaimed. "Was it made on purpose,
"No, it just happened," replied her father,
stopping his car. "Only after they did see it,
they touched up the masonry the next time it
was pointed so as to make it stand out more
distinctly. ' '
The old house was built of smoothed field-
stone, set in heavy mortar. Above and to the
left of the center door, below the upper win-
dows, were four stones a shade darker than
those composing the rest of the front. Chance
had so directed the hand of the builder that
through shape and position, they formed the
four wings of a big butterfly, distinctly and
clearly outlined among the lighter-colored
stones of the f acade. The surrounding mortar
was now touched with black, so that the butter-
fly looked as though just alighted with wings
Cary's delight knew no bounds. She forgot
38 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
her disappointment over the High School, and
could hardly stop to greet her mother and
Christine, coming down the walk.
" Isn't it exciting and romantic to live in a
house like this ! ' ' she exclaimed. ' l Oh, Mammy,
I'm crazy to see the inside. It must be some-
thing great to come up to the butterfly."
"Explore as fast as you choose," laughed
her mother. * ' I '11 be with you in a minute. ' '
Cary gave Christine another hug, dropped
her coat and hat just inside the front door and
began to look eagerly about.
On either side of the hall were two rooms, the
southeastern one used as a sitting-room. The
original square design had been enlarged at one
end so that the ceiling, elsewhere cozily low, rose
in an arch over the eastern side and took in
three big windows. On the south was a bay
with five narrow windows, meaning sunshine
from morning to night. Across the front hall,
where went up a pretty winding stair with a
finely curved mahogany railing, was the library,
another large square room, with a big fireplace,
a southern bay window and two French case-
ment windows looking out on the porch and
down through the garden to the river. Next
CARY SEES THE BUTTERFLY 39
this was a small northwest room with two win-
1 ' This was Aunt Nancy's bedroom/ ' ex-
plained Mrs. Dexter, rejoining her daughter.
1 'Father is going to take it for his study.' '
Gary looked about in delight. Shelving was
already in place and part of the books were un-
packed. Others in cases were yet on the porch.
"Is that the old secretary! " she suddenly de-
"Yes," replied her mother, glancing at the
massive piece of furniture at one side of the
fireplace. "It always stood here."
Cary looked from it to the very modern roll-
top desk her father had brought with him.
"Do you think Daddy will let me explore it?"
she asked in an awestruck whisper.
"Oh, yes, I know he will, but you'd better
keep that for a rainy day. Only, Cary, don't
set your heart on finding anything especial. It
has been too thoroughly examined for that to
be likelv. ' '
"No, I won't," Cary agreed, "but I should
like to hunt for the secret drawers and find
them for myself. Where does this other door
4 o AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
"Into the dining-room, ' ' replied her mother.
Cary opened it and again stopped in joy. She
faced a big room, square like the others, with
a fireplace on the north side, under a fine white-
painted colonial mantel like that in the library.
At one side of the hearth was a narrow tall
cupboard let into the chimney space. Seven
doors had this dining-room, and but one win-
dow looking north, yet the room was anything
but dark, for the south doors to living-room and
library furnished floods of light.
" Where do they all go?" Cary demanded,
opening one door after another. Three opened
into rooms already seen, a fourth into a closet
under the front stairs, a fifth into a narrow hall
leading to a side door, a sixth into a huge china-
closet, containing a window and a set basin, and
the seventh into the kitchen.
As Cary opened the seventh door, and looked
into a big sunny room, with two east and two
west windows, and north windows in both pantry
and kitchen entry, she stopped in surprise to
see a woman sitting by the table. Mrs. Dexter
also looked surprised. Ten minutes earlier,
hurrying to meet Cary, she had shut the door
CARY SEES THE BUTTERFLY 41
upon a kitchen that, though far from orderly,
was quite tenantless.
The intruder rose smiling. "You don't
know me, do you, Miss Anne?" she asked. "I
heard Charlie was coming back to Ridgefield
and so I told my sister I guessed she 'd have to
get along without me this winter. ' '
For a second Mrs. Dexter stood spell-bound,
evidently struggling with some half-forgotten
memory. " If it isn 't Lizzie ! ' ' she suddenly ex-
claimed, and to Cary's amazement held both
hands impulsively to the new-comer.
"Yes, I'm Lizzie," said the woman, laugh-
ing delightedly as she grasped them, "and I'm
as strong as ever if I am fifty years old. I
know what it is to get any kind of help in Ridge-
field, except those untidy French-Canadians
from the lower village, and I was sure your city
servants wouldn't come, or wouldn't stay if they
did come. I know all the ways of the house and
unless you and Charlie have completely changed
since vou were here that summer, and since he
was a boy, I guess we can hit it off together.
At least, we'll give each other a trial, if so be
you're favorable," she ended more cautiously.
42 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
"Lizzie, this is the best luck that ever befell
us!" exclaimed Mrs. Dexter. "Want you?
I should think we did ! Cary, ' ' she added, turn-
ing to her surprised daughter, "this is Lizzie
Phillips, who was with Aunt Nancy for years
"I worked for Miss Nancy from the time I
was seventeen till the day she died, ' ' put in the
smiling Lizzie, looking kindly at Cary, and
pressing the hand which Cary offered, since it
seemed to be expected of her, though a servant
of this type had never come her way before.
"Then I married Jim Stacy and after three
years he died, too. I've been with my sister
Euth till now, and I never thought I should take
to living out again, but when it comes to
Charlie 's family and the old house I know from
top to bottom, — why, if you want me, Miss Anne,
I guess we can come to terms. ' '
"Want you?" sighed Mrs. Dexter. "Here I
have been wondering how in the world I should
ever look after this big house. We Ve lived in
an apartment so long, and managed with just
somebody coming in, or with one maid, who
didn't know how to do much, — oh, Lizzie, it
CARY SEES THE BUTTERFLY 43
seems too good to be true ! And I never could
keep house like other people.' '
Lizzie gave an amused and rather indulgent
glance round the disordered room. "I know,
Miss Anne, I know. I remember how you had
to 'tend to the poppies and run out whenever a
thrush called. But you were a good cook," she
"Oh, I can cook if I have to," agreed Mrs.
Dexter, "but it's the having to that I don't
like. And Cary's growing up and she'll want
me to be conventional and keep house like other
Lizzie laughed. "Never you mind, Miss
Anne," she said. "You sit down and paint all
the pictures you like. I'll just step out and
get word to Ruth to send my trunk along, and
then I'll pitch in here and straighten things.
What time do you want dinner and have you
Cary left her mother planning eagerly with
this welcome visitor from the past, and went
on exploring. To have the former servant of
the house turn up and wish to share their home-
making was a bit of good-luck that Cary natu-
44 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
rally appreciated less than her mother, who al-
ready saw the difficulties of getting satisfactory
help in a country town. But she was quite un-
prepared to have her father, on hearing the
news, give a shout of real boyish joy and rush
for the kitchen to welcome the old-time servant
Cary continued her explorations. The short
hall from the dining-room led to a side entrance,
and to the back stairs. The second floor com-
prised five large sleeping-rooms, the one over
the kitchen having no less than six windows,
east, west and north. From the twin beds and
other articles, Cary saw that her parents had
taken this for their own and in the little one
adjoining, Christine's tiny possessions were be-
stowed. Cary looked into a well-equipped bath-
room and into a big linen-closet, then inspected
anxiously the other rooms, wondering which
was meant for her, but before she detected any-
thing to indicate that the matter was settled,
her mother came flying up-stairs.
4 'Oh, you are wondering which is your room.
Which do you like best? You are to have your
choice. ' '
Cary wandered from one to another of the
CARY SEES THE BUTTERFLY 45
three. The two big front rooms had each four
windows, the little west one but two. The
southeast room possessed a fireplace with fas-
cinating side-cupboards ; the one across the hall
looked down to the river and the sunset; the
little west room had delightful old-fashioned
picture paper above a paneled wainscot.
" Which was Daddy's room?" Cary finally
i * The one we have taken, ' ' her mother replied,
"the big one over the kitchen. "
This basis of decision rendered useless, Cary
inspected the three rooms again. "I'll take
this," she finally announced, after viewing the
southwest one inch by inch. "No, it hasn't any
fireplace, and I know those cupboards are dear,
but don't you see, Mammy, the butterfly is be-
low my window ! ' '
"Of course !" agreed her mother, understand-
ing at once, though to her mind the room was the
least attractive of the three. "We will always
remember that the butterfly is outside. Muslin
curtains will make the windows less stiff and
you needn't have these old pictures unless you
like. ' '
Cary inspected minutely the old-fashioned
46 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
mahogany-framed oil paintings. One repre-
sented a ship in a storm tossing violently on
petrified high-running waves, another depicted
an Arab bestriding a white steed with delicately
arched neck and flowing tail. The third was
a marvelous combination of high mountain and
dashing river with a level field on the edge of
a precipice where ladies strolled attired in hoop-
skirts, accompanied by gentlemen in tall hats
gallantly holding minute parasols over the heads
of their companions.
"Mother, I wouldn't have these taken away
for anything !" Cary announced delightedly.
"Oh, I know they are dreadful, but somehow
they belong here. There'll be plenty of room
for my things, too. Isn't there any closet?
She dashed across the room to a mountain of
mahogany and opened its doors, to disclose two
little closets evidently for the reception of gar-
ments. The rest of the furniture consisted of
an enormous mahogany sleigh bed, a handsome
bureau, table, rocking-chair and three straight
chairs. Its floor, painted green, was partly
covered by matting of a curious and interesting
CARY SEES THE BUTTERFLY 47
"The room can be made extremely attrac-
tive," said Mrs. Dexter. "The paper is unob-
trusive and the pattern good, while the view
is furniture in itself. There's no running
water, Cary, but you can either use your wash-
stand or go to the bathroom. Wonderful to
say, there is a set-bowl in our room. ,,
Cary looked at the wash-stand for the first
time, saw its glass top over quaint cretonne, its
clear glass bowl and pitcher. "I like this,
Mammy," she announced, "only I'm afraid
I'll smash these things."
"Indeed, you mustn't," said her mother.
"That toilet set is really choice. You will be
careful, won't you, Cary?"
1 l Yes, Mammy, ' ' said her daughter promptly.
"How could Cousin Anthony not simply love
this place?" she went on.
"I don't know," said Mrs. Dexter reflec-
tively. "Your father and he were in college
together and I imagine Anthony cared so much
for Charles that he would not make a bad mat-
ter worse by living here. "
"And what is there in the attic?" asked
Cary, as they arrived at the stairs leading to
the third story.
48 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
"Two rooms for servants," replied her
mother, "and two storerooms, as I suppose,
which seem to be locked, though I expect the
keys are on the bunch given us by Anthony's
agent, and a room that was fitted up with tools
and used by your father as a workshop. Oh,
there is a big water-tank, which has to be filled
every other day."
Cary ran up-stairs, looked into the tool-room,
still furnished with bench and vise, and shelves
containing boxes of nails and choice bits of
wood ; peeped into the tank where the water re-
flected her inquisitive face from its dark sur-
face; tried the two locked doors.
"I suppose that rag doll is shut up behind one
of them," she said as she rejoined her mother.
"I'm crazy to see her. May we look for her
"Why don't you save both the desk and the
attic for a rainy day?" asked Mrs. Dexter.
"Well, I will," said Cary. "I never was in
such a fascinating house before. Isn't it just
"Yes, it is," assented her mother, "and it is
exasperating as well, because it is such a com-
bination of things that are really good and beau-
CARY SEES THE BUTTERFLY 49
tiful and others that are ugly and comfortable.
If only it were truly ours, we could make a
charming home of it."
"Ugly!" said Cary, the word recalling some-
thing to her mind. "Mammy mine, have you
seen that High School? And did you ever look
upon anything so horrible I"
"The exterior doesn't prevent its being a
good school so far as education goes," replied
Mrs. Dexter. "And the people here seem to
think a great deal of it and to feel so proud of
the boys and girls it has sent into the world.
Of course it is not like the school you have left
but it does rank well. Be careful not to criti-
cize, Cary, especially before you know anything
about it. Daddy might feel sensitive, you
know, because it is his old school."
A decided premonition that she certainly
shouldn't be able to endure that building was
creeping over Cary, but there would be time
enough to confront that fearful feeling when
Monday really came. She slipped out of her
traveling suit, and presently, after a bath and
fresh clothes, went down to investigate the
garden. Through some shrubbery she caught
sight of a canoe drawn up on the bank, and at
50 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
once turned in that direction, anxious to dis-
cover whether Daddy had thoughtfully pro-
vided one for family use.
The distance across the lawn to the bank of
the river was shorter than Cary anticipated,
and she was at the top of the slope, beyond re-
treat, before she saw that the canoe had just
been vacated by two girls of her own age and a
boy slightly older. Having dipped a can of
water from the river, he was gazing intently
into it. At Gary's sudden appearance, both
girls turned and the boy looked up.
"Oh, are you Cary Dexter ?" asked the taller
of the two, stepping forward with outstretched
hand. "We were coming to see you this after-
noon, — we really didn't intend to call quite so
early as this. I'm Janet Chapin, and this is
Amy Richards, and her brother Cutler."
Amy smiled and Cutler, lifting a pair of the
blackest eyes Cary had ever seen, made her a
stiff bow. He was tall, thin, and so alertly
poised that he made her think of an Indian.
Amy, as Cary found out later, looked like her
plump, fair mother. At first sight, strangers
52 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
always refused to believe that the two could
be brother and sister.
Janet was not exactly pretty, but as Cary later
reported to an interested family, she had
" style," and most people found her animated
face very attractive, for though her mouth was
big, a frequent smile revealed fine teeth and her
dark wavy hair parted prettily above eyes that
were either hazel, gray, or green according to
the light and the frock Janet happened to be
"I'm ever so glad to see you," said Cary
heartily, for she liked the look of all three.
"No, I came only this morning, but Mother
and Father have been here more than two
"Yes, we've met them," said Amy. "They
were at church Sunday. And I think you will
be with Janet and me in the sophomore class.
Cutler's a junior."
Cary sat down eagerly on the bank. "Do
tell me about that school," she exclaimed. "Is
it anything like a city one?"
"Well, I've never been to a city school," re-
plied Amy, looking with admiration at Cary's
pretty green linen dress. It was as simple as
NEW FRIENDS 53
her own in cut and material, but somebody's
artistic fingers had added a touch of gay em-
broidery on pockets and belt, giving an air of
distinction to a very inexpensive garment.
Moreover, it was extremely becoming to Cary 's
slight figure, her brown hair, and the eyes she
scornfully characterized as " yellow.' '
"It's an uncommonly good school," remarked
Cutler suddenly. * ' Father says it is one of the
best in New England."
"But the building looks so queer from the
outside," said Cary. "Perhaps it's nicer in-
"Oh, the building, — " said Cutler medita-
tively. He turned toward Cary and, as she af-
terwards reported to her mother, looked at her
as though she wasn't there. After that one
glance, he paid no attention to the girls but
went on dipping his tin into the river, looking
searchingly at its contents, only to empty it
again and repeat the process.
"The building isn't specially nice," said
Janet, "but I don't know that I ever thought
much about it. People are so pleased that your
father has come back as principal. Don't you
think you'll like Ridgefield?"
54 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
' ' Oh, I guess so, ' ' said Cary. ' l What is there
to do, outside of school, I mean?"
' ' A great deal, ' ' said Amy. i ' There 's always
the river, and picnics and our school entertain-
ments, and a lot going on at the church, and
the snow-shoeing and tobogganing are fine in
winter. And then we're doing Red Cross work,
you know. ' '
"But aren't there any theaters or concerts ?"
"N-no," said Amy doubtfully, "only those
we get up ourselves. But there are movies
once a week, and sometimes they are very good.
There are two musical clubs and we do have
There was just the least little change in Amy's
tone as she replied, and Cutler looked up again.
Cary suddenly understood. No, she was not
going to pose as the sophisticated city visitor
who would despise all country amusements. If
a thought of the pleasures she was used to in
her former home crossed her mind, she could
not be blamed for that, but she would not let
them know what she was thinking.
i ' Snow-shoeing f ' ' she repeated. ' ' That '11 be
fine. And isn't there skating, too, here on the
NEW FRIENDS 55
river? Is it deep enough for swimming ?"
" Gracious, yes," said Janet, pushing back
her heavy hair. "That is, in spots, and it's
best to know how, because when you do upset,
you can't always choose your spot. But we
skate more often on Crystal Lake, for the ice is
smoother. Wouldn't you like to go canoeing
with us this afternoon?" she asked. "Amy
and I are going up the river to a place where
some especially pretty goldenrod grows, to get
some for church to-morrow."
"I'd love to," Cary responded promptly.
"Oh, I'm quite sure I may. Could you just
wait while I run in and ask Mother whether she
will want me? I haven't unpacked and things
aren't settled, but if she's going to paint, she'll
forget about doing anything else."
Cary started on a run for the house, leaving
a surprised trio behind her. A mother who
stopped to paint, with a partly settled house
about her, was new to all. Yet nobody felt crit-
ical, for they had seen Anne Dexter 's vivid face
at church and already recognized the charm of
her personality. Her daughter had the same
quick way of moving and speaking and pos-
sessed a certain daintiness in every action,
56 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
which they were to learn was characteristic of
Mrs. Dexter assented promptly to the plan.
She was anxious that Cary should make friends
quickly, and Cary came flying back to report.
"We'll start about three/ ' said Amy, the
faint shadow of doubt completely gone from her
voice. "We will be paddling upstream any-
way and can pick you up here. It's fine that
you can go."
The girls stepped back into the canoe and
Cutler emptied his tin for the last time.
"Would you mind telling me," Cary asked po-
litely, "what you expect to find in that water?"
Cutler surveyed her with a steady look. In
spite of herself, Cary could not keep her lips
quite straight, for his performances with the
tin can struck her as extremely funny. Cutler
had intended to give a plain answer, but some-
thing in her expression made him change his
"Not at all," he replied with equal courtesy.
"I was looking for the immature forms of
Amy gave a surprised gasp as her brother
pushed the canoe from the bank, with a skill-
Would you mind telling me what you expect to find in that
water ? " — Page 56.
NEW FRIENDS 57
ful twist that took it full into the current.
11 You're as bad as Van," Cary heard her pro-
test as they drifted quickly beyond hearing.
"Now. what did I do to make him sav that?"
thought Cary. ''And who is Van?"
Cary found an answer to both questions that
afternoon when they had paddled up to a hilly
slope rather far above the town, and filled their
arms with great featheiy bunches of the ''pret-
tiest goldenrod in Vermont," as Janet ferv-
ently styled it. Cary was not especially experi-
enced in goldenrod, but she admitted it to be
verv bushv and verv golden, and she wished
that her mother could see Janet, who happened
to be wearing a yellow and white gingham dress,
standing in the sunshine with her arms loaded.
Going up the river in itself proved rather
exciting, for they took a short-cut through the
meadow where the water was shallow, stuck
on a sand-bar and had to get out and wade.
Cary enjoyed the experience, and pulled off
shoes and stockings so promptly that both her
new friends dubbed her good sport and were
ready before the afternoon shadows grew long,
to vote the daughter of the new principal a real
acquisition to Eidgefield. As they wandered
58 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
back toward the canoe, Janet stopped to look
under a white birch.
"We came up here last July," she said, "and
I found a family of baby hermit thrushes some-
where round here. Ah, here is the empty nest.
They were very wide-throated and pin-feathery
then, but I suppose that now they are lovely
voices in the woods. Oh, Amy, do you remem-
ber the whippoorwills ? "
"Don't I!" sighed Amy, with feeling.
"They were dreadful this summer," Janet
went on to Cary. "You've heard them,
haven't you, nights in the country? Well, all
through July, there were two that came down
from the Eidge every night as regular as the
clock. One had a pleasant, rather musical
voice, and he always came between eight and
nine, and we named him Peter Pan. We really
enjoyed Peter. But the other was a terrible
bird, that got wound up and went on forever.
His name was Willful Willie, and he invariably
turned up about two in the morning. This
sounds like a large story, but truly, one night,
by actual count, he shrieked ' Whip-poor-will,'
fifteen hundred and nine times, with breaks of
NEW FRIENDS 59
only a few seconds between! In one of those
pauses, when the sudden silence fairly hurt
one's ears, a pewee said 'Please!' in an almost
human tone of protest. But Willie didn't
please; he started again. My brother was so
exasperated that he shouted 'Shut up!' and
woke my little sister, the only person in the
house who wasn't already awake. We were
all thankful when Willie finally moved on to a
different place. Would you like to paddle bow
going home?" she ended.
44 Oh, I'd love to," said Cary. "Tell me if I
don't do it right."
' ' Let 's take this goldenrod right to the church
and arrange it now," suggested Amy, as they
settled themselves in the canoe, piled high with
"And let's hope and pray that after we've
put it in vases, Mrs. Baker will let it alone,"
sighed Janet, as she dipped her paddle. "Last
September, Cary, we came for the goldenrod,
Amy and I, and arranged it so prettily in
church, three brass vases all a wonder of yel-
low. The altar hangings are green and gold,
too, and the whole effect was lovely and artis-
60 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
tic. We were so pleased with it and were look-
ing forward to having people tell us after serv-
ice how pretty the flowers looked.
4 * That Sunday,* ' continued Janet, "I was
rather late getting to church and when I came
in I had the shock of my life. Poor, dear Mrs.
Baker, who is just as good and kind as she can
be, had brought a bunch of late gladioli, the
ugliest magenta shade you ever saw or can
imagine, and substituted it for the center vase
of goldenrod. The contrast of colors fairly
filled the church and hit everybody on the head.
It was terrible. I didn't dare look across at
Amy for a long time. ' *
"If she'd only taken away all the goldenrod,
it wouldn't have mattered so much," observed
Amy. "It was her leaving any that made it
"But why did she change it at all, when you
had it arranged?" asked Cary. "Was it any
of her business?"
"Oh, well," said Amy, "strictly speaking, it
wasn't, but what was the use of making a fuss?
She thought it was beautiful. And in a little
town like this you have to work with all sorts
of people in church and not care what they do.
NEW FRIENDS 61
If you stop to care, you'd never get anything
done, and Mrs. Baker helps ever so much, really
helps, I mean. Janet and I had to swallow our
rage and keep still. But it won't happen to-
morrow, because Mrs. Baker's bulbs didn't do
"She may have some magenta asters," ob-
served Janet gloomily.
"It will be all right if she has," reassured
Amy, "for Father knew we were disappointed
that time and when I told him we were going
to try the goldenrod again, he said he'd have
any other flowers that came put on the reading-
desk. That's good of Father for he doesn't
like a vase there very well, because ever since
Van knocked it off, he always expects the choir
to tip it over in passing."
"Please, who is Van?" asked Gary.
"My younger brother, Evan," replied Amy
with a sigh. Cary soon found that Amy always
sighed when she spoke of Van. "He enters
High School this fall. He is a very queer boy
and a great trial."
"And great fun," put in Janet, smiling. "I
can't imagine Ridgefield without Van Rich-
62 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
"It would be something like an animal show
with the monkey left out," agreed Amy re-
"Mother often savs that Van should have
been her child, and May your mother's," said
Janet. "Then our home would have been all
uproar and the rectory a spot of calm. But
Van is a dear, — I'm not going to have him
slandered," she ended.
"All the same, Janet, you wouldn't enjoy liv-
ing with him. Only this morning I opened the
refrigerator and right next to the butter dish
lay a disgusting dead English sparrow. Van
shot it with his air gun and was going to take
it over for Xed Babcock's pet fox, but of course
he had to put it in the ice chest until he was
ready to go. He said Foxy's fresh meat must
be kept cool, but Mother made him take it
straight out and wash the refrigerator with a
disinfectant. Van truly is a dreadful boy."
"I think he must be great sport," laughed
Carv. "I've alwavs wished for a brother, but
my only one died when he was just a baby and
I was too little even to remember him. Is your
other brother like Van?"
"Xo, thank goodness!" said Amy energetic-
NEW FRIENDS 63
ally. "Cutler is like other people. I don't
know what made him so impolite to you this
morning, Cary. He might just as well have told
you that he was looking for mosquito wrigglers.
He has some theory about them, what, I don't
know, but he goes round hunting everywhere
for them. He could have explained, and I told
him he was rude."
"Oh, I didn't care," said Cary. "Perhaps
he thought I was making fun of him. But to
go back to the goldenrod. I still don't see why
you should let Mrs. Baker upset your plans and
never say one word."
"Well," Janet answered, "Amy couldn't
say anything, because being the rector's
daughter, she's in a sort of semi-official posi-
tion, and just then I was feeling sensitive on
account of Mrs. Baker's yellow kitten. Will
you paddle just a little slower, Cary? It's
rather difficult to keep time when you work so
fast. ' '
"Her yellow kitten?" repeated the mystified
Cary, as she adapted her stroke to Janet's re-
"It was this way," Janet began. "Mr. and
Mrs. Baker left town the early part of last Sep-
64 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
tember for ten days and Mrs. Baker asked me
to take care of her pet kitten. I said I would
and the morning she left she brought it over.
It was a dear little thing, just as clean and as
pretty as could be and I didn't wonder she
thought so much of it. While she was telling
me just what it was to have to eat, it wandered
out of the room. I didn't think about it, be-
cause you have to listen very closely when Mrs.
Baker talks, in order to get in the right answer
when she does stop. It must have been twenty
minutes that we stood in the hall and then she
went, and I started to look for the kitten.
"That dreadful little cat," Janet went on
impressively, "was in the empty kitchen, all
balled up in a sheet of sticky flypaper! And
there was Mrs. Baker still in sight from the
window ! I had a terrible time. I couldn 't pull
the paper off without taking fur and skin too,
and I didn't know what to do. May was so
distressed that she was crying; she's only ten
years old," Janet explained. "Luckily my
brother Arthur came in just then. He had been
at Plattsburg all summer and was home for
a few days before college began. He thought
grease would be the best thing to try, so we
NEW FRIENDS 65
used almost half a can of Crisco on that kitten.
''When we got through, the cat looked like
nothing you can imagine, but most of the sticky
stuff was off, and it was merelv ereasv. We
were all perfectly exhausted and we put the
little thing down cellar and forgot it till Mother
came home from Burlington where she'd been
shopping. That was about six. and quite soon
she asked whether Mrs. Baker brought the kit-
ten. We told her what had happened and she
wanted to see it at once, so Arthur went for it.
"The minute he started." Janet went on with
a smile. ; 'I had a sudden conviction that we'd
better have put it into the barn or the garage,
but it was too late. We heard Arthur laugh-
ing in the cellar and then he came up with that
terrible little animal. It had gone into the coal-
bin, all srreasv as it was and it looked like a wet
grimy black rat. By the way. its ridiculous
name was Shinv Pennv.
•'May began to cry again, and I felt like it
myself, ' ? Janet admitted. ''Now. it sounds
funnv but it was anvthing but funnv then.
Mother said Arthur and I were perfectly crazy
to have put it in the cellar: Father said we
should have used alcohol in the beginning, and
66 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
May fairly howled because she was so sorry for
the kitten and she didn't think it would ever
be clean again.
"We had a dreadful time. Next morning,
Mother and I washed it with soap and water
but that didn't seem to make it the original color,
and Mother was so afraid it would take cold
that we had to rub it with bath towels and keep
it in the sun and nurse it generally for hours.
But still it wasn't clean. We tried alcohol and
that made it sick. May tried to whiten it with
the stuff intended for canvas shoes, with the re-
sult that it had to be washed again. Arthur
said the only solution was to dye it black and
return it to Mrs. Baker as the latest fashionable
color in cats. Well, to cut a long story short,
we worked over that kitten every day Mrs.
Baker was gone, and just two hours before she
was expected home, we got it so it looked clean
and nice as when she brought it. I wonder it
survived. ' '
" So do I, " laughed Cary.
"It was thin," said Janet, "so we gave it a
saucer of cream which puffed it up a good deal.
It really was very cunning and was used to
being petted, but it was so dirty that we couldn 't
NEW FRIENDS 67
enjoy it, and I guess it was as glad to get home
as we were to have it go. But you understand
now why I didn 't feel like saying anything about
Mrs. Baker's flowers. That was the Sunday
after the kitten went home, you see."
RIDGEFIELD HIGH SCHOOL
Cary's pleasant afternoon on the river was
followed by a pleasant Sunday when she woke
to the golden light of a beautiful September
morning, with curious reflected waves from the
river dancing on the ceiling of her room.
At church, where she went with Mother and
Daddy, she found herself looking almost with
an air of proprietorship at the flowers in
the chancel, feathery plumes above the gold-
embroidered green hangings and against the
gray-green arch. Mercifully, Mrs. Baker had
intruded no other decorations to spoil the
charmingly artistic effect, but Cary smothered
a smile as she imagined how those magenta
gladioli must have looked.
After service, so many people came to greet
her parents that it seemed quite as though a
reception was going on. Later in the day, such
a procession of callers drifted through the com-
RIDGEFIELD HIGH SCHOOL 69
bined library and studio, that Cary, kept busy
supplying her mother with fresh tea and addi-
tional cups, thought gleefully that life in the
Butterfly House promised friends and excite-
ment almost equal to the city. And then fol-
lowed a long delightful evening, while she curled
in a corner of the couch before the open fire and
listened dreamily while Daddy read poetry
But Monday morning was a different affair.
Cary's worst anticipations were realized when
with Amy and Janet she walked up the avenue
of pines leading to the High School, appreciat-
ing as she did so, the kindness of the girls in
stopping for her, lest she feel lonely or left
out among the chattering groups.
They took Cary into the building by a base-
ment entrance, leading to a room where outer
garments were disposed upon hooks in long
rows. At the door stood a pleasant-faced
young teacher, directing each student to the sec-
tion designed for her class. Hanging up wraps
took but a second when one had only a light
sweater to shed, and Cary had opportunity to
notice the worn, discolored floor, and bare walls
lighted by small, high windows. It really was
70 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
the "cellar" she styled it, but there was little
time for criticism, for the file of girls coming in,
left by an opposite door and disappeared up a
flight of battered stairs.
Presently Cary found herself on a settee in
a big hall and she was justified in thinking it a
rather dreadful place, for its walls and ceiling
were a distressing shade of blue kalsomine, blis-
tered and flaked with the passing of many years,
and further disfigured by a pattern of stenciled
scallop-shells, looking exactly like large mustard
plasters applied at methodical intervals.
Being only fifteen, Cary did not notice the
beautiful view framed by each window, nor
appreciate that the pictures hung on their ap-
palling background were fine photographic re-
productions, nor realize that the casts at either
side of the platform were well-chosen. In fact,
her mood of disgust and disappointment deep-
ened till she was engulfed by a great wave of
longing for the school exchanged for this.
Yet she had come to Ridgefield determined to
make the best of things and to get all the fun
and pleasure possible from the experience.
Presently she remembered her mother 's caution
RIDGEFIELD HIGH SCHOOL 71
about judging hastily and began to look about
Having never attended a mixed school before,
the boys across the aisle came in for a share of
her inspection, and presently Cary's spirits be-
gan to rise, for both boys and girls bore such
scrutiny rather well. Ridgefield boasted not a
few families of genuine cultivation, as Cary al-
ready knew from the stream of callers flowing
through her home on the previous afternoon,
people just as delightful as their city friends.
Then there were many comfortable, well-to-do
families where the children were being given a
better chance than their parents, and lastly
came pupils from the real country homes, which
form the backbone of old New England.
Cary saw frank, manly faces among the boys,
attractive girlish ones about her. There was a
pleasant spirit of comradeship as of those who
knew one another well through both play and
work, and in boys and girls alike, there was an
absence of self-consciousness that spoke well for
the school atmosphere.
Mr. Dexter saw this, though his daughter did
not, and his satisfaction with what his experi-
72 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
enced eyes read in the young faces before him,
helped him to address the school with genuine
interest. At first, Cary listened critically, then
with growing admiration. Dad was great fun
and good sport as a comrade; she really hadn't
known he could talk like this, — hold the atten-
tion of every one in the hall. If he succeeded
in making the school reach his ideals for the
year's work, — why, it might not be such an im-
possible place after all!
So Cary admitted to herself, and her admira-
tion for her father increased with the passing
hours, leaving her to go home at noon much hap-
pier than she had thought possible that morn-
ing, even ready to admit that the Ridgefleld
High School had its good points.
Mrs. Dexter awaited rather anxiously her
daughter's arrival. Cary would appear, either
very enthusiastic or in a fit of the blues, no be-
tweens for her. But she came dancing in after
parting with Amy at the gate, in the best of
"Here I am, Mammy," she called gayly.
"Oh, such a funny morning and such a queer
school, but I think I shall like it after I get used
to all the differences. Daddy was simply great !
RIDGEFIELD HIGH SCHOOL 73
You never told me he could talk like that. Why,
before he finished, I felt that my one ambition
on earth was to be an honored alumnus, or is it
alumna? — of the Ridgefield High School. And
I like the girls. Janet and Amy introduced me
to everybody. Do you know, Janet's brother is
in the aviation section? She told me about him
at recess and says he writes the most interest-
ing letters. Everybody was nice to me," Cary
went on with genuine conviction. "It seems
odd to have boys in the classes, but Janet says
it makes things more interesting. Somehow I
didn't suppose that in a little town like this the
teachers would be as good as at home, but every
single one is a college graduate, and really nice,
our kind, Mammy. And people seem so inter-
ested in our being here. I went into the drug-
store to buy a toothbrush, and two ladies spoke
to me, because they knew I must be Daddy's
Mrs. Dexter had been working at her easel
while Cary chattered, touching with skilled fin-
gers the design for a magazine cover growing
upon it. Marriage had not choked her one
great talent, only given it opportunity for more
luxuriant growth, for she found her husband
74 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
willing and glad that she should use her brush,
tremendously interested in everything she did,
very proud of her accomplishment and her
steadily growing artistic reputation. She stood
regarding her picture and smiling at her daugh-
ter 's tale.
"Oh, I'm glad you didn't find things so bad
as you feared," she said. "The school plays a
big part in the life of a little place like this. I
know you will enjoy it, Cary."
The gate clicked and a girl came up the walk,
shyly and rather hesitatingly. Mrs. Dexter,
casting a glance through the window, stopped,
brush poised in her hand.
"Oh, Cary," she said softly, "what a picture!
Is she one of the High School students ? ' '
Cary half rose from the couch where she was
lounging, and looked at the approaching visitor.
"That red-headed girl?" she asked. "Yes, she
was in school this morning, for I noticed her
hair. ' '
Mrs. Dexter 's wide gray eyes were bent on
the new-comer, admiration and artistic appre-
ciation plainly indicated by their expression.
"Oh, I must paint her!" she exclaimed in a
whisper and then her face changed to a smile
RIDGEFIELD HIGH SCHOOL 75
of welcome. She moved swiftly forward as the
girl paused at the open door.
Candace Halliday, conscious of her cheap, ill-
fitting shoes and home-made dress, saw a gra-
cious vision clad in a Dutch blue smock.
"Is Mr. Dexter here?" she began, half -stam-
1 i Oh, you wanted my husband ? School closed
early and he hasn't come yet. I imagine he has
been detained. Come in, won y t you ? Probably
you met my daughter this morning. ' '
Cary rose, not with special courtesy, for she
saw no reason for Mother's enthusiasm. The
girl's hair was pretty, — if you liked that color,
— her eyes were unusual and her complexion
peachy, but her clothes were simply impossible,
and she acted as though she lived in the back-
"I guess I'd better not stop. It was only a
book — " hesitated Candace, but while she tar-
ried, a miracle happened, managed by Anne
Dexter, who had never been self-conscious in
her life. Before Candace knew what was taking
place, she was seated in a deep chair, watching
with fascinated eyes the careful, sure touches
being made to the picture on the easel; telling
76 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
her name and of the little house on Thorn.
Then Mr. Dexter came, slamming the front gate
and running into the house like a boy.
" Do you know," he exclaimed as he greeted
Candace, "I wanted to speak to you at school
this morning but somehow missed you. I'm al-
most sure you are Andrew Halliday's daugh-
"Yes," replied Oandace, coloring so prettily
that Mrs. Dexter longed more than ever to
transfer her to canvas. "I — I hoped you'd re-
"I'm not likely to forget," said Mr. Dexter
with real feeling. "Andrew and I were fond
of each other as boys, and I was truly grieved
to know of his death, Candace. You must let
us see a good deal of his daughter."
"Take off your hat, Candace, and stay to
lunch with us," said the wonderful lady with the
blue smock and the starry eyes.
"Oh, I — I couldn't," stammered Candace,
"Granny would worry if I am late. It was
only about the books for French — I hope you
don't mind my coming here to ask, but I wanted
to know how much it was going to cost?" She
RIDGEFIELD HIGH SCHOOL 77
Mr. Dexter looked puzzled. "I'm afraid I
don't understand," he said.
"You see," Candace began, "in the second
year, you can take French if you want to, —
you don't have to. But the French books, — do
they cost much?"
Mr. Dexter thought rapidly. As quickly as
his wife, he recognized the girl's amazing
beauty, saw her poor clothes, but he also read
in her eager face and questioning eyes the hun-
ger for knowledge. That morning in the hall
he noticed her almost at once, for among eighty
girls who sat more or less conscious of their col-
lars, their ribbons and their fresh frocks, this
girl with the wonderful hair kept her eyes fixed
on his face, unmindful of anything but his
"The first book needed will be furnished by
the school department, ' ' he replied. ' ' The texts
used later are issued in cheap paper editions."
"Oh, thank you," said Candace, uncon-
sciously clasping her hands as she spoke. "I
wanted so much to study French. ' '
She would not stay for luncheon, much as she
really wished to do so, but hurried off, happy
in the message for Granny, that Charles Dexter
78 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
was going to climb Thorn to see her just as soon
as he could find the time.
" Isn't she the most glorious creature !" ex-
claimed Mrs. Dexter, laying down her palette.
"I shall not rest till I have her on canvas. Oh,
but I saw through you, Charles, you fibber!
Will your school committee back up your rash
"They will," replied her husband, laughing.
"That's one point on which I'm determined.
These children who want to learn are to have
the books and the opportunity. Andrew was
one of the boys who lacked the full chance of an
education, for he couldn't even finish at the
old Academy. But he was a fine fellow and if
his daughter has inherited his longing for books,
I'll help her to the extent of my ability. You
shall paint her, Anne."
"Do, Mammy, and incidentally tell her how
to dress," said Cary. "She'd be stunning in
"Brown to match her hair, brown with a tinge
of gold," mused Mrs. Dexter. "Sea-gray,
Cary, a green-gray with a touch of turquoise.
Oh, I should like to design a dress for her!"
At her mother's enthusiastic tone, Cary
RIDGEFIELD HIGH SCHOOL 79
laughed. There were times when she felt years
older than either of her parents, — for instance
when between them they lost all the latch-keys
to the apartment and didn't care in the least.
Daddy had then taken the one belonging to the
servants' entrance and carefully attached to it
a label, "Back Door," in order, so he explained
to the wondering Christine, if they lost that as
well, the finder could go around trying all the
back doors in the world until he found the lock
the key fitted.
AUNT NANCY'S SECRETARY
Before two weeks passed, Cary concluded
that the Ridgefield High School promised to
prove as interesting as the one she left. There
was a certain charm about small classes, an in-
timacy not possible in large sections, and it was
fun gradually to know every student in the
school, not merely those of one's own division.
Though the building left much to be desired in
the way of beauty, its equipment was adequate
and the shabby old rooms decidedly comfort-
able. Cary, used to a locker for her personal
possessions and to journeys, sometimes long,
about a big building to attend classes, was
amused to find herself at an assigned desk in
a large school-room, expected to be at said desk
unless occupied by some recitation. The class-
rooms afforded only settees where one must
take notes with book resting on a knee, instead
of the latest and most comfortable design of
AUNT NANCY'S SECRETARY 81
desk-chair, but the notes themselves seemed
quite as well worth the putting down as in the
larger institution. Sooner than she would have
thought possible, Cary found herself accepting
the situation happily, found her recollections of
the Girls' High School growing dim.
Not a little of her contentment was due to her
having so quickly found congenial friends.
Though for a time she missed keenly the chums
of the previous year, she liked Janet thoroughly
and without reserve. Amy, she found a little
harder to get acquainted with, not realizing that
Amy, who had known and loved Janet all her
life, found it difficult to share her friend even
with so attractive a girl as Cary Dexter.
"We shall have a sophomore class-meeting
soon," Amy observed one day when she and
Cary were sauntering homewards up Main
Street, after leaving Janet at her gate. "It is
high time we chose our officers. Janet stands
a good chance of being president, unless Ned
Babcock is elected. They spoke of you for sec-
retary. ' '
" Really V 9 said Cary, secretly much pleased.
After the excitement of being president for one
year, the prospect of holding office, even in a
82 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
small high school, seemed pleasant. "Who
"I heard the girls talking about it and Van
said Alex Lincoln spoke of several boys who
wanted you. I think you'll be up for some-
thing, Cary, for you see everybody knows you
because of your father. Dear me, I wish I
wasn't so scared of him!"
"Afraid of Daddy?" said Cary in real amaze-
"Well, he isn't my father, you see. And I'm
so stupid in algebra. I made such a mess of
my problem this morning. ' '
"So did I," Cary acknowledged. "I'm not
so quick in mathematics as I ought to be. But
Daddy explained it to you. ' '
"I know he did," said Amy. "He didn't
make me feel an insignificant worm either, the
way Miss Hathaway does. She glares so if the
least little Latin ending is wrong. ' '
"She's a very fine teacher, though," said
Cary, who happened to be good at languages.
"Much better than the one who taught Latin
in my last school. ' '
"I heard her having a row with Van this
morning," sighed Amy. "He sits in her room,
AUNT NANCY'S SECRETARY 83
and I 'm sorry for her. I was passing the door
and heard her say : i Evan Richards, stop talk-
ing and get into your desk this minute !' "
"I suppose he was out of order," said
Cary, laughing as she spoke, for like Janet, she
found Amy's young brother most amusing.
Van possessed an animated, dark face that
could be either a living question-mark, or an
absolute blank according to the needs of the mo-
ment. Overgrown, awkward and painfully
thin, though his distressed mother did her best
to satisfy an appetite that could consume any
kind and any amount of food, Van looked as
though a strong wind had shaped his contours.
"No doubt he was doing something he
shouldn't," Amy agreed, "but he replied as
sweet as honey, 'Why, Miss Hathaway, I
couldn't possibly get into my desk!' "
"Of course she should have said 'seat,' "
agreed the amused Cary. "What happened
"She laughed; she couldn't help it," replied
Amy gloomily. "Van does say such queer
things. The freshmen are having Greek his-
tory and mythology and they came to where
Perseus changes the sea-monster into stone by
84 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
showing him the head of Medusa. Van told
Miss Appleton that Perseus missed the chance
of his life by not hanging on to that head, merely
as a business proposition. He could have made
all the statues he wanted just by freezing into
marble every good-looking person he met, and
since they would be much more natural and
life-like than any sculptor, — even Phidias, —
could carve, Perseus might have made a great
deal of money. I heard about it afterwards, ' '
Amy concluded. "I always do hear all the
strange things Van says. Everybody takes
pleasure in saving them up to tell me. ' '
"But that was clever," laughed Cary.
"Clever, yes," Amy assented, "but I'd be
satisfied if he wasn't so clever. Cary, did you
ever see such a shark at lessons as Candace Hal-
liday ? Is there anything she doesn 't learn bet-
ter than all the rest of us?"
"She is a wonder," Cary agreed. "I never
saw any one so anxious to know the least lit-
tle reference in every lesson. To-day when we
were reading Tennyson's l Dream of Fair
Women, ' I believe Candace was the only person
in class who had traced every single allusion,
AUNT NANCY'S SECRETARY 85
even the ones to Queen Eleanor and Jephthah's
daughter. ' '
"Yes," said Amy, "and she learned three of
Wordsworth's sonnets, learned them just be-
cause she wanted to, while the rest of us thought
ourselves abused at having to memorize one."
' ' I didn 't mind that, ' ' replied Gary. ' ' Daddy
loves poetry and is always reading it aloud. I
like to learn it, — I often do, — just for pleasure.' '
"I wish now that I hadn't chosen the sonnet
I did," observed Amy thoughtfully. "I
learned the one beginning: 'The world is too
much with us,' and I like yours better."
" ^Milton, thou shoulds't be living at this hour :
England hath need of thee: — '■'
quoted Cary. ' ' But, Amy, I haven 't any special
claim on it ; it isn 't my personal property ; you
may learn it, too. ' '
"Well, do you know it hadn't occurred to me
that I could," said Amy, laughing. "I believe
I will. dear, it's sprinkling and I know there
will be another shower! No, I won't stop for
an umbrella. I'll use my coat-collar for one
and run between the drops."
86 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
Amy hurried down the street and Cary turned
in at the Butterfly House. Though she really
should not complain of the first showery day
since she came to Ridgefield, her spirits sud-
denly fell. No game of tennis this afternoon,
no canoeing on the autumn river where at every
bend the maples "changed from glory into
At luncheon Cary related Van's opinion of
the excellent business opportunity neglected by
Perseus, a tale which brought an amused laugh
from both father and mother.
"Clever child, Van," commented Mr. Dexter.
"Amy does take him so desperately hard,"
said Cary. "She never sees how bright and
funny he is. Janet thinks Van is a dear and
so do I."
"He is attractive," replied her father. "A
pity that his parents regard him so seriously,
for a boy like Van needs a lot of letting alone.
He certainly doesn't shine in mathematics, but
to me, he and Candace Halliday are the two
students in school that, so far, stand out above
"Could I mention that for Amy's comfort?"
asked Cary saucily.
AUNT NANCY'S SECRETARY 87
"Not spoken for publication," replied her
father merrily. Their understanding was that
Daddy should be perfectly free to talk about
his work at home and that Cary should regard
every such comment as confidential.
"Well, all right," said his daughter. "I
only thought it might cheer Amy. Do you
know, Mammy, what I'm planning to do this
afternoon while it rains? Explore the old sec-
retary. ' '
"And find something nobody else could?"
teased her father.
"I might," said Cary stoutly. "If I were a
girl in a book, I should, of course. But I won't
expect to, and then I'll be surprised if I do."
When Cary entered the study about three, it
was empty, for Mr. Dexter had returned to
school for a teachers' meeting.
"First I shall look through the drawers," she
decided, after a survey of the old secretary.
No doubt that in itself it was a valuable piece
of furniture, made in days when a craftsman
wrought lovingly and honestly at his art. The
recessed front of each drawer was cut from a
solid slab of mahogany that in the beginning
must have been three inches thick, to permit the
88 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
deep gouge. Hand-carved claw-feet supported
the desk, while sides and drop-front alike were
magnificent slabs of handsome wood.
"The thing must weigh a ton," thought Cary,
finding a single drawer no light load.
The top one was empty save for a pile of old
photographs and an album of faded kodak pic-
tures. At this Cary glanced with interest, rec-
ognizing, in some of the groups, her father as
he looked years ago. Some day she would ex-
amine the book with greater care.
The second drawer held an old map mounted
on cloth and tightly rolled, a map of Ridgefield
very early in its history. The third was empty.
The fourth and lowest revealed a miscellaneous
collection of objects from old buttons to a glass-
covered box of mounted butterflies.
Cary went through this accumulation with
fruitless care, ending by removing all four
drawers from their slides, heavy as they were,
and examining the back of the cavity. It ap-
peared perfectly solid, with nothing that invited
Having replaced the ponderous drawers,
Cary pulled out the brass-knobbed supports to
hold the lowered lid. The desk opened upon a
AUNT NANCY'S SECRETARY 89
number of small drawers with pigeon-holes
above, and in the center a little cupboard be-
tween delicate colonial pilasters.
The small drawers held a rustv kev or two,
a few old-fashioned marbles that perhaps had
once been treasured by little Charles Dexter, an
envelope stuffed with old postage-stamps, un-
doubtedlv of value to a collector, two account-
books recording household expenses, a tiny bot-
tle half full of mercury, a foot-rule, and a puzzle
made of metal rings.
The pigeon-holes contained several packages
of old letters, doubtless already carefully ex-
amined, and bundle after bundle of receipted
bills. Nowhere did Cary find anything of in-
Last of all she opened the little cupboard.
Inside was a tiny drawer and above it an empty
space. The drawer held a quantity of loose
pink coral beads.
Certainly Cary found nothing to explain in
the least why the secretary had been Aunt
Nancy's only bequest to her nephew and
adopted son. But Daddy had spoken of three
r experimenting for half an hour, Cary
90 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
found one, in the little center cupboard where a
blank front could be moved by fingers applied
to what, while apparently the top of the cup-
board was really the bottom of the drawer. In
it was a single internal revenue stamp issued
during the Civil War.
Cary could not find the other secret drawers,
though both were in plain sight. She marveled
over her blindness, when her mother, coming
to see how her exploration was progressing,
touched one of the little pilasters. Cary imme-
diately discovered it to be the front of a very
narrow drawer, the height of the column and
the depth of the desk, but both pilaster drawers
"Oh, what did Great-aunt Nancy mean?''
sighed Cary, resting her elbows on the shabby
old blotter fastened to the desk lid.
"Nobody knows," said her mother rather
soberly, "and it is no use to wonder or to care
about it now. Something must have gone
wrong with whatever plan she made, for I know
she never meant things to come out as they did.
She was too fond of Charles for that."
Mrs. Dexter went on into the library but Cary
continued to sit looking into the garden, wet
AUNT NANCY'S SECRETARY 91
with the passing shower, though the sun now
shone. She was disappointed over her fruitless
search, for though she did not like to admit it,
a little hope had lingered that the old desk
might give up some secret.
Through the open window drifted the pleas-
ant scent of wet pine needles, for the day was
warm as spring, and the air full of nice earthy
odors. After a little Cary closed the desk and
went into the adjoining room. There seemed
nothing further to do or say about Aunt Nancy 's
secretary and she would take the opportunity
to consult her mother concerning another pro-
"I do think it is so queer," she began, settling
herself in a corner of the couch, "that we
haven't a single boy related to us, who is in
"It is unusual,' ' agreed Mrs. Dexter, already
intent on her drawing-board.
"Of course," Cary went on reflectively,
"Uncle Jack's children are too young to go, but
I haven't even a second cousin in the army. It
is so much more interesting to knit for some-
body real than to turn things over to the Red
Cross for people you never saw and who never
92 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
saw you. Now, Mammy, please listen to me.
Mayn't I adopt a soldier to write to and do
things for? Janet has her brother Arthur, and
Amy's cousin Clive is in the navy."
Mrs. Dexter smiled but made no immediate
"If I had a brother or a cousin or somebody
I knew, I would be satisfied," Cary went on.
"But all my friends in town are too young to
volunteer. Really, I don't know anybody, not
even the boys Daddy knows, and he said he
could count over seventy. Ever so many girls
are doing it, Mammy, and I'm crazy to adopt a
Mrs. Dexter laid down her crayon and looked
whimsically at her daughter. "A mother of
sixteen to a son of twenty-two or more?" she
asked merrily. "Oh, Cary dear, I know how
you feel, but I wouldn't like my little girl to be
writing to a boy she didn't know."
"It seems as though war made it dif-
ferent, Mammy," pleaded Cary. "Of course, I
wouldn't do it any other time, but it's a way
"I don't doubt there are cases where it would
help, but I think it is an unwise thing for any
AUNT NANCY'S SECRETARY 93
young girl to do. Those letters should be writ-
ten by older women, by women really old enough
to mother a lonely bov."
"0 dear!" moaned Cary. "Mrs. Chapin
said she didn't think you'd want me to do it.
She won't let Janet even put notes in the things
she knits, because Kitty Metcalf stuck one into
some socks she made and the man who got them
wrote right off and asked her to marry him. It
would be so romantic to get a proposal from a
man you never even heard of ! Janet and Amy
and I thought it was most interesting, but Kitty
was very disgusted. I guess Kitty might have
liked it better if she wasn't already engaged to
1 ' Very probably, ' ' agreed her amused mother.
"Cary, do you remember Madam Hosmerf
She adopted a war son, and in his reply to her
first letter, he addressed her as ' Dearest Sylvia'
and asked if she would visit a cabaret with him.
Madam Hosmer, old enough to be his grand-
"That was rather fresh," Cary acknowl-
edged, "but there must be some nice boys,
Mammy, who wouldn't take advantage."
"Of course there are, any number of them.
94 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
Only the really nice ones might themselves feel
scruples about corresponding with strangers."
" Kitty was so funny about that note," Cary
went on after a pause. "She said it was the
second time it had happened to her. Once she
bought a shirt-waist in a big store in Boston and
pinned inside the sleeve was a type-written let-
ter from a man, asking the purchaser of the
blouse to write him with a view to matrimony.
He told about himself and said he owned an
automobile and a summer cottage at the sea-
shore. That was three years ago, and Kitty
was crazy to answer it then, — not give her real
name, you know, but just see what would come
of it, — but Mrs. Metcalf wouldn't let her.
Mothers seem to be alike when it comes to really
exciting and romantic things," Cary ended
rather resentfully. "Of course Mrs. Metcalf
was right about that, but it does seem as though
war made things different.
"But Mrs. Chapin said," Cary finally went
on, "that if I chose to knit an aviator's helmet
for Arthur, she knew he would be pleased to
have me send it because he always likes Janet's
friends. Amy is knitting socks for her cousin
AUNT NANCY'S SECRETARY 95
Clive, and Janet says she '11 let me help knit for
Arthur. ' '
"Indeed you may," agreed Mrs. Dexter cor-
dially. "Make the helmet by all means and
send a nice little letter with it. I'm perfectly
willing you should do that. ' '
"But I don't know Arthur any more than
any other boy," observed Cary.
"But you know his family and his home. I
quite approve that plan. ' '
"Well-1," said Cary dubiously, "I suppose
I could try it. Of course it isn't as good as
having a war son, but it's better than nothing.
What are you making, Mammy!" she added,
coming to look over Mrs. Dexter 's shoulder.
"Oh, isn't that lovely! I wish I could draw.
It's terrible to have a mother who can act and
sing and draw and paint and who always says
the right thing to the right person, and a father
who jokes and writes books, and not do anything
at all myself ! ' '
"Oh, honey, don't make up your mind that
you never will. It takes time to find the way
one can best express one's self. To whom is
96 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
"Is she eating her supper in the dining-
room ?" asked Cary, going to the door. "Good
gracious ! Get out ! ' '
At her daughter's startled tone, Mrs. Dexter
put down her crayon and followed. Before her
low table by the open window sat little Chris-
tine. On the table edge perched an enormous
black bird, eating most appreciatively from the
hospitable spoon Chrissy extended. As mother
and sister watched, she refilled the spoon from
her bowl of bread and milk, to offer it again
to her visitor.
"It's a tremendous crow," said Mrs. Dexter
in a whisper. "How tame it is! It must be
"Chrissy doesn't seem in the least surprised
to have it there," giggled Cary. "Wouldn't
you think she 'd be afraid ? ' '
"I suppose she doesn't see anything strange
in its coming to share her supper. Children
live so in a world of their own. After all the
fairy stories we tell her I suppose Chrissy
thinks this only natural."
For fully five minutes they watched the pretty
picture of little Chrissy and the big black crow,
mo3t amiably sharing a meal, Christine talking
AUNT NANCY'S SECRETARY 97
earnestly all the time. Then a door slammed
in the kitchen ell and the intruder flew out of
Christine gazed after him, a troubled expres-
sion on her face. "My sliver spoon," she mur-
mured. "Big bird took my sliver spoon.' '
"Mother, he has taken her silver spoon," ex-
claimed Cary. "He is sitting up there in the
pine with it in his beak. Watch him while I
get my rubbers and run out. ' '
High in the branches sat the intruder, holding
the spoon safely. Cary threw up a pine cone,
but the crow was evidently too tame and too
much of a pet to be disturbed by such a missile,
especially when it did not come anywhere near
hitting him. Looking sideways at Cary, he
transferred the spoon to the hold of one claw.
Lizzie came from the kitchen to look and ex-
claim in surprise, while Christine, distressed by
the shocking conduct of her guest, began to cry.
"He'll drop it some time," said Lizzie com-
fortingly. "I can't be sure it'll be here,
though," she added to Cary. "You'd better be
ready to follow when he flies."
Fortunately the crow seemed to have lost in-
terest in his treasure. In a moment he spread
98 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
his wings for flight and the spoon fell unheeded
to the ground.
1 ' Well, wasn't that funny !" exclaimed Cary,
restoring her property to Christine. "Do you
suppose he'll come again f n
"Very likely if he is somebody's pet and lives
near here," replied Mrs. Dexter. "We were
lucky to get the spoon so easily. ' '
"He's been round before," remarked Lizzie,
who had followed Cary into the dining-room.
"I think he's visited my chamber, too, for some-
body or something ate half a cake of camphor-
ice on my wash-stand and threw my kid curlers
out of the window. I thought maybe Chrissy
did it, so I didn't mention it, but I think now
it was that crow."
A COMMITTEE MEETING
As Amy prophesied, the sophomores shortly
held a class-meeting, at which Janet was chosen
president, Ned Babcock treasurer, and Cary
secretary. A few thought Cary should be pres-
ident, but the majority were loyal to Janet and
confident of her level-headed wisdom. They
said, too, and with justice, that Cary was a new-
comer and it would be unfair to make her presi-
dent because of her father's position.
But Cary was perfectly satisfied to be secre-
tary and her modest little speech of acceptance
went far toward removing any prejudice
against her, for the voting had not been unani-
mous. To her surprise and wholly without her
knowledge, Candace Halliday was nominated
and ran a close second. In fact, more bovs
voted for Candace, while the girls, other quali-
fications being equal, permitted Cary's dainty
frocks and greater social adaptability to turn
ioo AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
Candace did not care at all. It would have
been better for her had she been elected and
thus forced into closer relation with her fellow
students, for she was decidedly inclined to ig-
nore the social side of school life, so intent was
she upon getting every possible advantage from
her work. So quickly did she condemn per-
fectly natural youthful enthusiasms as " silly' '
that she was in danger of becoming a prig.
The High School as a whole promptly dis-
covered the charm of their principal's wife, and
a steadily increasing number of boys and girls
began to worship her in secret and to make her
the central figure whenever she appeared at any
school exercise or entertainment. Therefore it
was not surprising that the committee appointed
by the sophomores to get up a class frolic for
Hallowe 'en that must be original, good fun and
inexpensive, should turn to Mrs. Dexter for ad-
vice, though they felt justified in asking because
Cary was one of the committee. Candace was
on it also, much against her will, for she and
Larry Woods had been designated to help the
" Nothing is cheap," sighed Janet, "and it's
hard to think of anything original. There are
A COMMITTEE MEETING 101
just the old Hallowe'en stunts we've done for-
ever. ' '
The committee, in session in the living-room
of the Butterfly House, all looked serious.
"Well," observed Cary, "Daddy quoted
something the other day about love and jokes
still being cheap; we can do things ourselves
and make our own fun. ' '
"You've never tried to decorate that old
hall," said Ned. "Do you think your mother
would have any ideas about it, Cary?"
"I know she will," replied Cary. "I've
never yet asked her anything that she didn 't rise
to the emergency. I'll go and consult her."
"About the refreshments," said Larry, when
Cary had gone. ' ' We can 't have much because
there's so little sugar. People used to give us
cake and candy and all sorts of stuff."
"We will just do without," said Janet sen-
sibly. "We ought not to care, either, because
we are helping save food. But we can have
things that are all right for us to use. There is
"Yes," said Ned quickly, "and apples and
chestnuts, though they're both as old as the
102 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
"We might have gingerbread," observed
Candace shyly. A limited bill of fare was no
novelty to her. So far, war had not reduced in
the least the few staples she and Granny de-
"Ginger cookies made with molasses,"
amended Janet. "Cookies are easier to
handle, Candace. And, well, — that's enough.
We ought to be satisfied with that and we can
eat it with a clear conscience. Doughnuts
would be nice, but of course they take both fat
and sugar. We will appoint certain girls to
"I can bring some chestnuts," offered Can-
"And we can easily get the apples and cider,"
said Larry. "Ned and I'll be responsible for
those. That feed is as good as anybody could
want, even though it antedates the Revolution-
ary war. But the entertainment stumps me. ' '
Cary came back smiling. "Mother told me
at once what we can do, and I'm sure it has
never been seen in Ridgefield before. She sug-
gests that we trim the hall with boughs of
evergreen, ever and ever so much, and have an
A COMMITTEE MEETING 103
The other members of the committee looked
"Everybody will have a tiny wooden gun,"
explain Cary, " which the boys can whittle out
of shingles. It will be hardly any work to make
them. Hidden all about the room will be lots
and lots of little paper owls. Mother will draw
patterns for them and help make them. Each
owl will have a hole punched in it and a string
tied to it, so the person who shoots the owl can
hang it on his gun. Gray owls count five,
screech owls ten, barred owls fifteen, and great
white ones twenty. The best hunter will re-
ceive a prize. ' '
Overcome by the superlative originality of
this entertainment, the committee gazed at one
another in silence.
"After the hunt," Cary went on, "she sug-
gests that we play games for a while, games that
everybody knows, and then dance. ' '
"Splendid!" exclaimed Janet. "Only some
of the class don't dance."
Candace drew a little breath. She for one
hadn't the least idea how.
"Mother thought of that and says we might
have a big kettle of molasses or maple syrup
104 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
boiling on the gas stove in the teachers' rest-
room and those who don't dance can make
candy. Then we will serve the refreshments.
All this is, if we really don't want any of the
regular Hallowe'en doings."
1 l We don 't, ' ' announced the committee in uni-
son, save Candace, who was silent. Ned, twirl-
ing his cap in his hands, suddenly threw it up
and caught it again.
"And look at the absolute simplicity of it
all!" he ejaculated.
After numerous details had been discussed
and arranged, Ned and Larry went away. Ja-
net, too, discovered the hour, but as she rose to
go, Candace, who had taken almost no part in
the discussion of various matters, suddenly
"Janet, I wish you'd put somebody else in my
place. I'm no good at this sort of thing and I
can 't come that evening, anyway. ' '
Both Janet and Cary stared at her.
"I can't," Candace went on hastily. "I
couldn't get home that night and it would be
too hard for Granny to see to things next morn-
ing. ' '
"Candace!" exclaimed Cary, looking dis-
A COMMITTEE MEETING 105
tressed. "Oh, what will Mother think of me!
When I went up to ask her for ideas, she told
me to be sure to say to you that she wanted you
to stay here that night. She spoke of it es-
pecially but I forgot. Surely your grand-
mother won't mind being alone just for once.
And couldn't Billy Park see about the milk?"
Candace 's white face flushed. ' i That 's lovely
of Mrs. Dexter. I suppose Billy would go up,
but — " she ended miserably, "the real reason is
that I haven 't anything to wear. ' '
Both girls were dumb before this blunt state-
ment. In their happy, sheltered lives, new,
pretty garments appeared whenever needed, as
surely as proper food.
"Candace, you look so nice in that dress.
Truly it doesn't matter what you wear," Janet
began, longing to offer one of her own frocks but
restrained by innate delicacy from a suggestion
that might hurt Candace 's pride.
"It doesn't matter much at school, but this is
different," said Candace, not knowing how to
put into words her feeling that in class, fine
scholarship placed her on an equality with all.
"Clothes don't matter," Janet began again,
but suddenly stopped. When one is only fifteen
106 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
she knew they did matter, and mattered very
much. "Candace, you shall come!" she broke
out. "We'll have some Hallowe'en stunts
after all and you shall be a witch in costume and
"In a cave of pine boughs with the biggest
owl of all over the entrance," Cary added,
clapping her hands enthusiastically.
"And Amy's black cat, if we can persuade
him to stand so much society, ' ' Janet struck in.
Candace's eyes filled, as she looked from one
to the other.
"Say yes," Cary went on. "Mother will
plan a costume and help you make up for-
"Why, you'll have the chance of your life,"
seconded Janet. "Just think how you will
know everybody who comes to you and can slam
them right and left. But, Cary, why not have
all the committee in costume? That will be
more fun yet, for then people won't know who is
the witch. You and I can think of some dis-
"Let's," agreed Cary. "But will the boys
"Larry will, and we can coax Ned into it.
A COMMITTEE MEETING 107
We may have to make their costumes, though.
You'll do it, won't you, Candace?"
Having had time to recover her poise, Can-
dace agreed. "It's dear of you two to plan a
way out, but this will come up again and again,
so you might just as well face the fact that I
can't do what the rest of the class can, because,
well — I'm as poor as Job's turkey and that's
all there is to it."
"When the next difficulty comes, we'll get out
of that, too," declared Janet. "No use wor-
rying till the time comes. All you'll need will
be a black skirt and shawl, and we'll make a
pointed cap from cardboard."
"There are some wigs in Mother's treasure
chest," said Cary. " Candace 's hair would
give her away. Oh, we'll make a fine witch of
you, never fear. And you're to stay with us
over night, Candace."
After a few minutes Candace went away,
leaving Janet and Cary to draw long breaths of
relief. "Wasn't that a fix!" sighed Janet.
"We were up against it with a vengeance, but I
flatter myself that we scraped out rather well."
"Because you thought so quickly," said Cary
generously. "I wish there was some way for
108 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
Candace to have a really pretty dress. I love
my clothes and it doesn't seem fair. But, Ja-
net, did you know what that old wet-blanket of
a teacher, Miss Pollard, said? She thinks we
ought not to have any parties during war-time. "
"0 dear!" sighed Janet. "I can't feel that
it's wrong to have some fun and good times."
"I told Daddy and he said, ' Nonsense,' and
that it was perfectly natural for us to want our
frolic and he thought it right that we should
have it. He said it was a duty to be cheerful
and for us to have our party, only to keep it
simple and inexpensive. Janet, do telephone
home and then stay to supper with me, because
we must plan what we will wear and think of
some costumes that we can induce those boys to
"I can suggest something right away," said
Janet. "You and I will be witches, too; we'll
have one white, one gray and one black. And
the boys shall be goblins. Larry will love to
be a goblin."
A HUNTING CHAPTER
Owls of every known and some of unknown
species, varying in size from wee ones half an
inch high to the bird three feet tall, presiding
over the witch's retreat, perched among the pine
and bitter-sweet decorations of the High School
hall that Hallowe'en night. They swung from
electric lights, lurked in the slats of the inner
shutters, and the choicest specimen of all, a
' i Great Downy,' ' exactly one inch long, re-
mained unshot until almost the end, when
Johnny Chadwick's bright eyes discovered it,
neatly suspended by a bit of gum behind the
pedal of the grand piano, and with it won the
score for marksmanship:
Of course there had been accidents, misunder-
standings and hurt feelings as always happens
when any number of people, young or older, try
to put through a public entertainment, but in
the end all the thin ice was successfully skated,
every difficulty overcome, — a result largely due
no AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
to Janet's sense of fairness and her even tem-
per. From start to finish, the whole evening
finally went smoothly, and everybody had so
much fun, that the "owl hunt" was unanimously
declared the most successful party ever pro-
vided by the Ridgefield High School.
Cloaked in her disguise, Candace forgot her
scorn of all frivolities, forgot herself and thor-
oughly enjoyed reading the palms of her mysti-
fied schoolmates, and poking sly and sometimes
pointed fun at their foibles. Though they knew
the fortune-teller with her disguised voice must
be one of three girls, knew her interpretations
sprung from close class-room association, it was
comical what ridiculous importance they at-
tached to these prophecies.
Candace's happy mood lasted through the
evening, kept her excited and gay while she and
Cary undressed in adjoining rooms in the But-
terfly House, chatting and laughing till both
were ready for bed. As she finally put out the
light, Candace 's last thought was for the pleas-
ure of waking next morning in that pretty room,
and of pretending it was really hers, instead of
getting up before dawn at call of a relentless
alarm clock under the cottage eaves on Thorn.
A HUNTING CHAPTER in
Candace 's actual awakening differed from her
anticipations. More tired than she realized
after her unusual evening, she slept late, and
the sun had been shining some moments when
she was abruptly startled into full conscious-
ness by a shriek from Cary's room.
Jumping out of bed, Candace rushed to the
adjoining door. Cary, sitting up in bed, was
aiming a slipper at a big black bird promenad-
ing calmly over her bureau.
"Oh, the horrid thing !" she exclaimed.
"Chrissy thinks he's beautiful and Daddy says
he's probably a fairy prince in disguise, but I
will not have him in my room. He can take
himself and his magic out of here."
The crow paid no attention to Cary's slip-
per, rebounding from the front of the bureau.
The second one also missed him and went
through the open window.
"Suppose somebody was going by and saw
that slipper come flying out!" laughed Candace.
"It would be worse if it hit him on the head,"
observed Cary, rolling her handkerchief into a
ball and throwing that at the crow. Then, hav-
ing nothing else in reach that could be used as
a weapon, she lay down.
ii2 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
"Well, stay if you want to. Come, get into
bed with me, Candace. You'll take cold. ,,
Candace colored, painfully conscious of her
plain cheap nightdress. She could see how it
contrasted with Cary's.
"I think I'd better dress," she said, feeling
suddenly shy again. "It's after seven."
"Gracious!" Cary moaned. "I suppose I
might as well get up too, even though it is Sat-
urday and no school. Will anything make that
"I'll shoo him out," said Candace, suiting the
action to the word, and kindly closing the win-
dow as well. The great crow flapped heavily
into a neighboring tree, with a parting caw that
sounded like a hoot of derision.
Somehow the enchantment of last evening no
longer held. Candace knew the room she occu-
pied was still pretty and charming, but her
pleasure in it was gone. Last night, without a
touch of envy, she admired Cary's gay kimono
and dainty toilet articles, but with the morning
she could see only the violent contrast of her
own belongings. Cary, too, seemed to be ex-
periencing a reaction, for her conversation was
mostly a running complaint because the water
A HUNTING CHAPTER 113
was cold, her hair tangled, her nail-cleaner mis-
laid, and her pet smock torn.
The two were barely ready when the bell for
breakfast rang, where Candace appeared silent
and awkward, partly because she so admired
both Cary's parents and was overcome at being
their guest, partly because she was unaccus-
tomed to the little refinements of Anne Dexter 's
table. She did not notice the proper spoon to
use for her orange, wiped her fingers on her
napkin before discovering her finger-bowl, al-
most upset her chocolate and did spill her egg.
In vain she kept telling herself that these trifles
did not matter, that because for two months she
had ranked the entire High School, she was ex-
empt from bothering over such insignificant de-
tails, but in her heart she was mortified over
The family conversation as well amazed her.
Had it passed between people she admired less
she would have condemned it as utterly frivo-
lous. She and Granny never had time or spir-
its to joke and the Dexters joked all the time.
During the recent twenty-four hours, Candace 's
theories of the world received several jolts.
' ' Candace, are you in a hurry to get home ? ' '
ii4 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
Mrs. Dexter asked as thev rose from the table.
"If not, will you do me a great favor?"
"I should love to do anything for you," said
Candace with genuine feeling. "If I am home
by noon, Granny won't worry."
'T very much want to make a little sketch of
you, — " began Mrs. Dexter, but stopped to
laugh at Cary's tragic moan and the manner in
which she dropped limply into a chair.
"I knew it," groaned Cary. "I knew by
your eyes, Mammy, that you had designs on
Candace. That means that your abused daugh-
ter dusts three, no, four rooms."
"A terrible task," agreed her mother. "But
I really must have Candace in color. I have
planned just how to pose her. It won't be hard,
Candace ; I only want you to sit in a big chair
in a certain attitude, reading any book you
Candace was only too willing to oblige and,
ever after, connected the sophomore owl hunt
with Macaulay 's l ' Lays, ' ' for on that memorable
morning she made the acquaintance of Horatius
and the "noble river that rolls by the towers of
Utterly oblivious of all about her, blind to
A HUNTING CHAPTER iij
Mrs. Dexter's quick appraising glances, igno-
rant of the pr _ of the sketch, Candace read
on, an excited witr f the keeping of the
bridge and of the battle by the Lake RegOhis.
( until the Great Twin Brethren rode through
me with news f victory did Candace draw a
1ol_ ugh and realize that the poem was end
and the clock striking eleven.
''Don't be troubled. Candace,* 1 said her host-
1, noticing her disturbed expression. "Mr.
Dexter is goinz to take you home in the car.
me and see my sketch."
"Do I really look like that?*' Candace asked
• • B »mething like it, I hope. ' ' said Mrs. Dexter,
much amused. From Candace \s tone she could
not tell whether the opinion was favorable or
the reverse. So completely absorbed had the
girl been in her book, that her whole attitudp
was unconscious. Th: s If-forgetfulness and
her lovely coloring Mrs. Dexter had 91 -fully
transferred to canvas. TT. si of the figu
dress, chair and backs-round were as yet only
"I can put those in later," the artist
plained, not wishing to say in so many words
n6 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
that she wanted to paint Candace in the blue-
gray dress she always visualized her as wear-
Mr. Dexter brought the car to take Candace
home and offered to take his daughter as well,
but Cary said she was busy and that it looked
like rain. She flattened her nose against the
window and waved her hand rather listlessly to
her guest as the machine started.
"Are you tired, dear?" asked her mother,
noticing her attitude.
"Oh, a little," replied Cary. "I'm sort of
disappointed in Candace. She limbered up last
night and was no end of fun like other people,
but this morning she shut up again just like a
clam. She can talk about books we are study-
ing at school, but she doesn't care about other
things we do. And wasn't she embarrassed at
"Candace has the instincts of a lady," said
Mrs. Dexter, scraping her palette, "and when
one has that, the necessary polish is soon gained.
Given the chance, she would quickly become
more at ease in company and acquire the little
social graces she lacks."
"Well-1, perhaps," agreed her daughter,
A HUNTING CHAPTER 117
but, Mammy, I don 't think she considers them
necessary. Sometimes it seems as though she
rather looks down on the rest of us because we
fuss over our clothes and such things."
Mrs. Dexter was silent. How could she ex-
plain to Cary that this attitude was doubtless
the shield for Candace's pride?
"Candace is a very interesting girl," she re-
marked at length, "and her opportunities in life
have been so limited that she has done wonders
with what she has."
"She is doing awfully well in French," said
Cary. "Very well, I mean, Mammy, — you
needn't squint at me. But I believe I should
like her better if she made more mistakes. Do
you know, I think I will go and look in the at-
tic for that rag doll you told me about. Chrissy
ought to have her if she's ever going to. Come
up too and explore with me. It's really rain-
ing now and you've painted for a long time."
"Well, I will," agreed her mother. "I sup-
pose the keys to those closed rooms are on the
bunch of keys in your father's desk. Look in
the upper left-hand drawer."
The rain was falling steadily on the slate roof
of the Butterfly House when the two reached the
u8 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
attic, its beating, though less audible than on
shingles, filling the air with a pleasant hum
that emphasized the coziness indoors. Almost
the first key Cary tried fitted one door. It
opened upon a small dark room, shelved on
three sides and on the fourth showing a place
about a yard high that led under the eaves.
The explorers had provided a lantern and its
light revealed upon the shelves any quantity
of glass jars, a whole row of gilt bird-cages, out-
dated kitchen utensils, old lamps, discarded
ornaments, and a big pile of quilts. Under the
lower shelves were two old-fashioned leather
trunks, covered with cowhide and ornamented
by brass nails tracing initials on the covers.
One contained a quantity of baby clothes, old
and yellowed, of a fashion years gone by, made
with the most exquisite material and embroid-
ery. The other held several ancient striped
silk and satin dresses, and a pair of white slip-
pers that probably once graced the feet of a
"We will dress up in these some day," ex-
claimed Cary, admiring especially a yellow silk
dotted with tiny pink rosebuds. "And here is
a white coal-scuttle bonnet."
A HUNTING CHAPTER 119
Having looked through the trunks, she took
the lantern and knelt before the opening under
the eaves. As far as she could see were only
dusty fire-irons, an old flax wheel, a tin reflector
used for baking before an open fire, and some
"Cary, it isn't worth while crawling in there
and getting yourself all dusty," remonstrated
her mother. "I am very sure the doll is in a
trunk. Let us look in the other attic."
Cary obediently backed out the few steps she
had entered and they unlocked the second room.
This was not wholly dark, since a small win-
dow was set high in the passage wall.
i ' This is surely the hospital for broken furni-
ture, ' ' laughed her mother. * ' Six, eight chairs,
a round table, a what-not, four pictures, any-
"A darling old-fashioned mahogany cradle
with a hood," said Cary admiringly. "What a
shame Chrissy is too big for it ! Do you think
it was Daddy's?"
"Oh, child, it far antedates him," laughed
Mrs. Dexter, "but perhaps he slept in it. Let
us see, only old books in this corner. Ah, there
is a leather trunk."
120 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
Cary pounced eagerly upon it, drew it from
under the shelf, and lifted the lid. There lay
the rag doll, Aunt Nancy 's curious bequest to
In silence Anne Dexter examined it. About
two feet tall, it had a flat round head and flat
body, awkward hands and feet. Its dress, low-
necked and short-sleeved, looked like and prob-
ably was a frock once worn by some little child.
Face and hair were painted upon the stiff cloth.
The trunk also contained a Red-riding-hood
cloak, two more dresses and some undergar-
" Let's take her down to Chrissy," said Cary.
"She has been shut up here so long that she
will love to be played with again. I wonder
what her name is."
"Lizzie may remember," replied her mother.
"The doll has been in the Dexter family for
something like one hundred years and I know
she has a name which I have forgotten. There
used to be a little arm-chair, too, Cary. Just
look under the eaves and see whether it is in
sight. ' '
Cary stooped before the opening that ran
far back along the edge of the sloping roof.
A HUNTING CHAPTER 121
Yes, in plain sight and within reach was a red-
painted wooden chair.
"Chrissy will love this," she said, bringing
it out. "It is big enough for her to sit in her-
self. Now I am going straight to the kitchen
and interview Lizzie."
Cary ran down-stairs, leaving her mother
gazing thoughtfully into the old trunk. She was
still in the same position when Cary returned.
"The doll's name is Judith," she reported,
"called Judy for short. Lizzie is sure she is
over one hundred and twenty-five years old.
She has been covered ever so many times, when-
ever her face was dirty. Lizzie says Great-aunt
Nancy herself covered her nicely when I was
born, and painted that face. So you needn't
feel afraid of Chrissy 's getting germs because
she hasn't been played with since."
"Oh, Cary," said her mother suddenly, "I
know it's foolish of me, but somehow I feel as
though I didn't want to see that doll around.
She would be a daily reminder of something
that is better forgotten. Let's take only the
little chair. Chrissy doesn't know about her
and she has so many toys. You don't mind,
122 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
"Why, no, Mammy, I only wanted to see her,
and she certainly isn't any beauty. If you
don't care to have her down-stairs that settles
it," said Cary. "Go to sleep again, Judith;
you'll have to stay in your trunk for the pres-
"What is there about Monday morning that
makes one feel as though a special curse rested
upon it?" sighed Mrs. Dexter on the second day
of the following week. Christine was as cross
as that cheerful little person knew how to be,
and her dressing and breakfasting had been a
series of snarls punctuated by tears; Charles
Dexter, though blessed with an even disposi-
tion and a sense of humor, seemed to have mis-
laid both when he cut himself shaving and found
the furnace fire out; Lizzie was grumpy be-
cause lowering skies gave no promise of drying
any clothes, and everything seemed to be wrong
"What are you looking for?" her mother
asked at length, when Cary had twice turned
over each article on the big library table and
was tossing papers and magazines into con-
i2 4 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
"Oh, my French exercise book," was the
fretful reply. "I left it here on Saturday and
now it is gone. I must have it, for our note-
books are to be marked this morning. I can't
find my fountain pen either, and I know that
was on my bureau Friday night.' '
" If it was there, very likely the crow took it.
You said he was walking over the bureau."
"Perhaps he did take the pen, but it's a queer
coincidence that the book is missing, too. Even
though he is a prince in disguise, he shows con-
siderable intelligence in choosing that. More
likely that Candace Halliday took it."
Mrs. Dexter suppressed a sharp reproof.
"Don't be absurd, Cary. Of course she did
nothing of the sort. ' '
"You don't understand, Mother," said Cary
crossly, "that if I can't find that note-book and
hand it in, Candace will get the highest mark
for the month in French, when it ought by good
rights to be mine. She must have taken it, for
it was here on the table where she left her own
books when she came home with me."
"Of course it is possible that Candace picked
it up by mistake, but really you must not say you
think she took it deliberately."
ONE MONDAY 125
"What am I to think when it isn't here?"
Cary began, but just then Chrissy began to cry
and Mr. Dexter called from the hall.
"Anne, I've pulled a button off this coat."
Seizing a needle, Mrs. Dexter disappeared
to render first aid to a husband impatient to get
to school. Cary, muttering to herself, com-
pleted the disorder of the table by upsetting a
brass holder full of pencils and pens, and
rushed off without the usual kiss to her mother.
Her unceremonious exit tickled her father's
sense of fun.
"Cheer up, Anne," he said as he followed.
"We'll both come back in a better frame of
mind. ' '
Mrs. Dexter put the library in its usual con-
dition of neatness, with an eye to Cary's lost
possessions, but neither came to light. "I sup-
pose she left them both at school, ' ' she thought.
"Now if Chrissy is sick, she is going back to
bed; if she is just naughty, she can stop fret-
ting. I may not be able to straighten out the
older members of my family so easily, but
Christine may choose between her crib and be-
Cary herself thought she might find the miss-
126 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
ing note-book in her desk and immediately
searched for it, but in vain. As she closed the
lid, she looked up to meet Candace 's eyes.
Nothing was more natural than that Candace
should be waiting to give her a morning greet-
ing, but Cary's ill-humor distorted the glance
into a confession of guilt. At her first oppor-
tunity, she confided her loss and her suspicions
to both Amy and Janet.
"Why, how shocking !" said Amy, accepting
Cary's theory without the slightest considera-
tion. "And you really deserve the highest
mark in French. ' '
"Cary, that's ridiculous," said Janet, always
just to others. "You've mislaid it. Candace
wouldn't do anything like that."
"It's rather suspicious that she should be
looking at me just then," Cary retorted, "and
the book is neither here nor at home."
"I lose things often enough myself, so that
I'd want to look more than one morning before
I decided it was stolen," said Janet sensibly.
"Tell Miss Dubois that you can't find it and
perhaps she will hold up your mark until to-
morrow when you have had another chance to
hunt for it."
ONE MONDAY 127
"I'll try," said Cary, and she did. Had she
not been the daughter of the principal and had
not the excuse of a mislaid book been an old
one to the French instructor, the request might
have been granted, but Miss Dubois was anxious
to avoid any possible charge of favoritism, and
she knew of cases where the excuse was made
to gain time. Cary's work had to stand on her
class showing and her mark for the month was
far below the one gained by Candace.
"It's unjust and unkind and I'm not going
to stand it," Cary sputtered. "I'll tell Can-
dace just what I think of her."
Janet had a consoling arm about her friend.
"Did you ask Candace if she saw it?" she in-
"Yes," sobbed Cary. "She said she hadn't,
but she looked very conscious when I spoke. I
believe she did take it, Janet."
"Oh, don't think that. Truly it isn't worth
it. A mark doesn't affect your real knowledge
of French and we all know that you pronounce
and translate much better than the rest of us.
It is only in putting English into French that
Candace gets ahead."
"That's where my book would have shown
128 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
that I could do it. I worked so hard this month,
and I know I improved. And now I don't get
any credit for it. ' y
Janet was silent. To offer any real consola-
tion when Cary felt so sore was difficult. i ' Will
you let me come and help hunt for that note-
book this afternoon V she asked.
"Yes," said Cary, wiping her eyes. "I'd
love to have you come, but I know we shall never
find it. Do I look as though I'd been crying?
I hate to have Mother see me, for Chrissy and
I were both as cross as bears this morning.
Come as early as you can, Janet."
When Janet arrived at the Butterfly House
that afternoon, calm seemed to have descended
upon the family. After half an hour in bed,
Chrissy arose, sweet as a day in June ; Mr. Dex-
ter was whistling softly over a pair of skiis he
was repairing, and Cary remained serene, even
though a careful search revealed no trace of the
"Perhaps you dropped it coming from
school," Janet at length decided. "If you did,
you will get it again, because your name was on
"Mother thinks the crow took it," said Cary.
ONE MONDAY 129
"I guess he did take the pen, because I know
that was on my bureau, but I am sure I left the
note-book in the library where he couldn't get
in. Did you bring your knitting V 9
"Yes," replied Janet, producing it. "More
socks for Arthur. He wears them out incredi-
bly fast, and says he should perish daily with-
out them. ' '
"Has he been in Texas ever since he volun-
teered V 9 Mrs. Dexter asked, as the two settled
themselves on the big couch before the fireplace.
"No," said Janet, "he is there only for in-
struction in actual flying. The men who pass
the physical tests for aviation, and Arthur says
they are very severe indeed, go first to what is
called a ground school, and many of them never
get any farther. That is where the college men
stand the best chance, for it takes a trained
mind to get through such a stiff course."
"What does a 'ground school' mean?" asked
"It is called that because there is no actual
flying. They learn the theory of flight and
wireless telegraphy and map-making and sig-
naling and how to use different guns and all
about engines and ever so many such things.
i 3 o AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
I can't begin to tell you, but it is very difficult
and many men are dropped entirely or put back
into lower classes. There were seventy-five in
Arthur's class when he started, but less than
twenty were sent on for instruction in actual
flying. We were so proud of him, for he is only
twenty-two, you see. Now he is down in
"Does he like flying?" asked Cary.
"He is crazy about it," said Janet. "He
says it really is not so dangerous as people sup-
pose, because the planes are so strong and so
well-built, but of course there are accidents
through cadets losing their heads, or through
carelessness. He wrote of one fellow who tried
to make a landing and came down in a tree.
The plane was smashed, but the pilot merely
scratched one knee. Arthur is at the most ad-
vanced camp now, and expects to 'win his
wings,' as they call it, and get his commission
"Wings?" repeated Cary.
"Yes, the right to wear a shield with two
wings on his left breast. He hopes to be sent
to France, but says he may be kept at camp as
ONE MONDAY 131
"Your mother wouldn't object to that," said
Mrs. Dexter, smiling.
' ' No, ' f Janet agreed, ' ' only she knows Arthur
would hate it. I can't myself see why all the
boys are so crazy to get to the front. And when
it comes to killing other people, I am sure Ar-
thur won't like it at all, for it has been the
beauty of flying and the joy of motion and the
clouds and the sunsets that he so appreciates."
"I suppose the actual conflict will seem im-
personal," commented Mrs. Dexter, "more so
in air-fighting than in other kinds. How do
they get the necessary experience in gunnery?"
"Oh, at targets towed by another plane, or
with a gun that is really a camera and takes a
picture at the exact moment the shot would be
fired, so the developed plates tell how correctly
they aimed. They work extremely hard and
the men who win their wings deserve them.
But it isn't all drudgery, for Arthur writes of
interesting lectures and entertainments and says
he can almost always get hold of a magazine or
a book when he wants one. He spoke of one
odd thing ; when there is one accident, more are
almost sure to happen the same day, and once
about half the planes in camp came to grief
i 3 2 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
within a few hours. When one man gets nerv-
ous it seems contagious. That day when so
many machines were disabled, the men were
lined up and given what he calls a ' bawling-
out.' Arthur hadn't been flying that day, but
had to hear the lecture just the same. He wrote
about trying to make molasses candy on the
stove in his tent, and it boiled over and made
a dreadful mess. Some others saw the black
smoke pouring from the flap and thought the
tent was on fire, and before Arthur knew what
was happening, his entire company was lined
up to put out his burning molasses. ' '
"What happened then?" laughed Cary.
"He didn't say that anything did. It was an
hour when the cadets were off duty and I sup-
pose he had a right to make candy if he wished.
But since he told us about it, we have tried to
send him some quite regularly. He will like
your helmet, Cary. He says he uses one of
different weight for different days, according
to the weather."
"It will be finished by to-morrow, " said Cary,
regarding it thoughtfully.
"Mother is sending a package Wednesday,"
ONE MONDAY 133
Janet went on. " Yon can put in the helmet and
I shall tell him that you made it."
"I wonder if he will like it enough to write
me about it," observed Cary. "It would be
such fun to get a letter from him. ' '
"Write to thank you?" laughed Janet. "I
think it likely, considering that Mother brought
him up. He'll hear from her if he isn't polite
enough to thank you. ' '
As she spoke, Janet's ball of yarn rolled
toward Mrs. Dexter.
"Why, Janet, what have you been doing ?"
she inquired as the girl reached for it. "Your
hands look as though you 'd been trying to tame
a tiger. ' '
"Aren't they dreadful?" agreed Janet, look-
ing at the numerous scratches that decorated her
wrists and ringers. "It was May's kitten. I
think oats must be my unlucky animal, for I
seem fated to get into scrapes with them. Last
evening, Father and Mother went to that lecture
in the Town Hall, but May wasn't feeling quite
well, so I stayed with her. Her kitten got up
in my lap, and I slipped my bracelet over its
head, making it a little gold collar. It looked
134 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
very cunning and May was pleased, but pretty
soon, the horrid little thing managed to get the
bracelet into its mouth and wedged in such a
way that I couldn't move it.
"I think perhaps I could have forced it back,
only it was over its teeth as well and the kitten
was dreadfully frightened. After clawing me
desperately, it flew about the room as though
in a fit. I put on gloves and tried again, but
made its poor mouth bleed and that nearly fin-
ished May. The whole affair was so good for
her when she wasn't feeling well to begin with!
The kit tore around foaming at the mouth and
May cried and I couldn't do anything with either
' * Finally I telephoned to Larry Woods and
asked him to come over and help me. When he
arrived, the kitten was laid out exhausted on
the rug and May and I were in despair. We
rolled the cat in a sweater and I held it while
Larry tried to dislodge the bracelet. He
couldn't without knocking out a tooth, and May
could never stand that nor forgive us."
"What did you do?" asked the interested
"I brought the wire-cutters and Larry sawed
ONE MONDAY 135
the bracelet apart, " sighed Janet. "I hated to
do it, but it seemed the only way. Well, the
kitten is all right again, and I took the bracelet
to the jeweler this morning. He said he could
mend it so it would scarcely show, but he evi-
dently thought it was a very curious injury. I
wouldn't tell him what had happened to it, for
I knew he would tell the whole town. But I can
assure you," ended Janet, surveying her red-
streaked hands, "that I shall never again use
a bracelet for a kitten's collar.' '
^ira^ge to say, nothing more was seen of
either Cary's pen or note-book. She finally
agreed that the crow mnst have taken the first
from her bureau, bnt stubbornly stuck to her
own opinion as to the fate of the exercises.
Candace thought Cary unaccountably chilly
after the Hallowe'en owl hunt, and withdrew
more than ever into her shell, taking almost no
part in school events outside the class-room, be-
ing unsociable even at recess, and the other girls
were too busy with various affairs to take the
trouble to penetrate her reserve.
Two weeks later came the harvest supper at
the church, an event which Cary found most in-
teresting. Ont in the country, where one actu-
ally saw the apples picked and the corn cut, the
gathering of crops took on real significance and
the service of thanksgiving seemed appropriate.
HARVEST SUPPER 137
Carr willinsrlv ac :en Janet and Arr-v
pressed her into work as a waitress.
With --.roe advice from Mrs. Dexter and as-
sistance from a few -; ._.:_ :ys. the older girls
trimmed the oarisn house. I: Kittv, Maui.
Dorothy and the res: felt this autumn the ab-
sence z '..- ~~onu_ Loi "U'j iu r.'re"i'". us "ears
helped arrange the corn-stalks ami pile the
pumpkins, they were brave and phiiosophicah
but the gay laughter as they worked served as
cover for many a thought going to son: in
camp or already ;.ver sea. "butler. Ned. Evan
and other vounsr bovs did their best to supr
the vacant places of those who were serving
their count r v.
When the waitress- oeared. smart in
dainty light dresses and little ruffled aprons,
the transformed parish house called for admira-
tion. Shocks of unhusked corn stood at the base
of the beams, the lights gk:-;u::e:I stftly thnugh
yellow shades, each table wa£ prettib - b:-corat
with fall fruits, and on and about the raise::
platform with its table for the church ofhcers.
was heaped an immense quantity of vegetables
and orchard produce, apples, carrots, egg-
plants, eaiilhuowers. celery, poi ■ ?s, squashes.
138 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
— every variety that Kidgefield farms yielded
during the season. At sight of this, Cary's
"What is to be done with all that?" she
"It goes to the hospital and the Old People's
£[0106,' ' Janet replied. "Everybody gives
something. Father brought that bushel of po-
tatoes and a barrel of apples. It is the parish
thank-offering for good crops, and everything
is given away."
"Come, girls," called Mrs. Baker. "Janet,
you take this side of this first table for yours,
and Cary may work with you. Can you man-
age it between you or had there better be a
third? I guess we will have three waitresses
for each table. I'll send somebody else later.
Amy, you and Priscilla and Margaret take this
Busy Mrs. Baker's voice died away as she
crossed the room, issuing directions as she went.
"Tell me what to do, Janet," said Cary. "I
never waited at a church supper in my life. ' f
"It is fun," replied Janet. "To-night we
are to have a war supper, baked beans, and
meat-loaf that is really hominy and peanuts,
HARVEST SUPPER 139
and it's ever so good, because Mother made it.
Then there is brown bread and graham and rye,
every kind except white, and canned peas that
were raised and canned in Ridgefield. For des-
sert there is every kind of pie you can imagine,
with coffee and sweet cider. The boys will pour
the coffee. We are to bring the platters of
food for our table and pass the beans and meat-
loaf and the peas. Then we clear the table and
bring dessert. There isn't much to do, except
to see that people have what they want. But,
Cary, if you really have never attended a har-
vest supper before, you ought to go into the
church where the people are gathering and see
the whole affair. Let us both go. We will get
near the head of the line and slide into place
when we come out. I'll just tell Mrs. Baker,
so she won't think we have deserted."
Janet and Cary slipped through the winding
passage into the church, already well-filled with
people, who, having laid aside their wraps,
awaited the summons to supper. Almost be-
fore Cary discovered her parents in the throng,
Ned Babcock sounded a single note on his flute,
and the people began to form, two and two, in
a long line. Led by the flute-player and six
140 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
men and boys from the choir, they moved in pro-
cession toward the parish house, singing as they
" 'Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest home.
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin:
God our Maker doth provide
For our wants to be supplied,
Come, ye grateful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest home/ "
Cary heard Janet's sweet notes join the hymn
of thanksgiving, heard voice after voice come
in to swell the volume of sound till it rose to
echo among the arches. Still singing and in
decorous procession, they entered the parish
house, continuing the music until each table was
surrounded by standing people, whose heads
were reverently bowed while Mr. Eichards gave
thanks for the year's crops and asked a blessing
on the harvest supper. Their sincere earnest-
ness and the plain simplicity of it all, touched
Cary rather deeply, for she had never known
anything quite like this little church, a church
that somehow seemed so much a part of the real
life of the community. It was all so intimate
and so genuine.
Cary had scant time for meditating, for the
HARVEST SUPPER 141
ladies in the serving-room announced the food
ready to take in, and she flew to attend to her
duties. Not until every one in her section was
served and she drew back for a general survey
to see whether a glass needed refilling, did she
realize that Mrs. Baker had sent Candace for
the third waitress at their table, and that Can-
dace was not getting on very well. Indeed,
Janet had gone to the rescue and was gently ad-
vising Candace to pass her platter at the left
of each person, not the right, a hint which Can-
dace received with a deep blush. She looked
uncomfortable and out of place, thought Cary,
but she forgot Candace in trying to see where
her parents were seated. Presently she dis-
covered them at the head table, with Mr. and
Mrs. Richards, the Chapins and other promi-
nent people. Kitty Metcalf was waiting on
them. Beside her father sat a tiny old woman,
dressed in shabbv black, with white hair and a
worn, lined face, to whom Mr. Dexter was pay-
ing marked attention.
" Janet,' ' whispered Cary, catching her
friend's arm, "who is that little old lady sitting
" Granny Halliday," Janet replied after a
142 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
glance in the direction indicated. " Candace 's
grandmother, you know. She hardly ever gets
down the mountain to church. The Parks must
have brought her. How nice of Mr. Kichards
to have her sit at that table! Goodness me!
are they going to trust Van with a pitcher of
coffee! I'm glad I'm not sitting at the table
where he's to pour."
Van was not the person who came to grief,
but Cary herself. Turning abruptly from the
serving-table, she ran into Candace and spilled
almost a whole dish of peas. Fortunately they
landed on the floor, not in any one's lap, but
Cary's apron and white dress were badly
" Never mind," said Kitty consolingly.
"Here's a fresh apron, Cary. I brought it in
case anybody had an accident."
Her cheeks burning, Cary tied on the dainty
bit of muslin, deliberately ignoring the dis-
tressed Candace, who indeed said no word of
apology for her share of the accident.
"You fared better than somebody at my
table," said Maud to Cary in passing. "Mrs.
Baxter thought the table extended to the very
edge of the stiff paper covering it, when it
HARVEST SUPPER 143
was only sticking out, so she pulled her plate
forward and the whole thing tipped into her
lap on top of her feather ruff. That ruff is a
Maud went on laughing and Cary took her
refilled dish, giving Candace a wide berth on
her way to the table. She met with no further
mishap either in clearing away dishes or serv-
"Have some pie, Cary?" Van asked, meeting
her a little later, a huge wedge in each hand.
"I'm staying behind this screen because the
forks have run short."
1 ' You could have a fork if you wanted it, Van
Bichards," said Kitty, smiling at him.
"I don't want it," admitted Van, sampling
first one wedge and then the other. "Pie al-
ways tastes much better eaten this way. IVe
been trying to catch my mother's eye, but she
won't look at me. I wonder if she is afraid of
what she may see."
"I imagine so," laughed Cary. "My table is
all cleared, Mrs. Baker. What next?"
"Nothing. Help yourself to anything you
want to eat," said the busy head of the serv-
H4 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
Cary sampled the mock-meat loaf, which she
found much to her taste, drank the coffee she
was not permitted to have at home, and se-
lected a piece of lemon-pie, prudently providing
herself with both fork and plate. Then she
joined Van, who had finished his pie and was
gazing over the top of the screen, in much the
attitude of a Eaphael cherub.
"Do you know everybody here?" she in-
Van looked around the two big rooms.
"Yes," he said thoughtfully. "You see that
fat old woman over there ? She is the best cook
in Kidgefield. It was her mince-pie I was eat-
ing just now. We used to have chicken-pie sup-
pers sometimes, and her pie was always solid
meat, no bones at all. If you could eat another
piece, Cary, — mince-pie, I mean, — I can get it
for you, because through a lucky accident I
happen to know where the rest of it is. I can
recommend it without reservation. ' '
"I'm not very fond of mince-pie, Van,"
laughed Cary. "I won't deprive you of it.
Where have you hidden it?"
"What an unjust thought!" sighed Van.
"Amy might have had it but I didn't think it
HARVEST SUPPER 145
of you, Cary. Ah, the ladies are getting out
their knitting and we shall hear the parish re-
i ' Why didn 't you bring your knitting ! ' ' asked
"I am knitting,' ' said her companion unex-
pectedly, "a wrister, but it is for a one-armed
"What is going on now?" asked Cary in a
whisper, her attention suddenly distracted, for
everybody beyond the partition dividing the
parish house proper from the serving-room had
suddenly risen, while Mr. Eichards read a brief
list of names.
"Sh!" said Van softly, as every head was
bowed, and for half a minute silence reigned.
"It is a tribute to the people who have died
since the last harvest supper," he explained,
when the rustle of reseating began. "Now
Father is going to read the honor roll of men
Both Cary and Van were silent as the twenty-
four names were pronounced. At each, the
boy's parents, if present, rose, until over forty
people were standing, from Dr. and Mrs. Chapin
to old Mr. and Mrs. Hicks, whose tiny cabin on
146 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
Cloud boasted a service flag. Then everybody
again rose, this time with heads erect, and be-
gan to sing: " Bless Thon our native land!"
Gary turned to Van to surprise a look of genu-
ine emotion on his face, but before she could
speak, Van muttered something and disap-
peared, apparently leaving the parish house.
Cary hardly noticed his going, so interesting
and impressive did she find the scene before her.
Her sympathies were keenly touched and she
was yet absorbed in the parish proceedings
when some one came to her side.
"Cary," said a voice, "I'm sorry about those
"Oh, it doesn't matter, Candace," said Cary,
more pleasantly than would have been possible
fifteen minutes previously. "I bumped into
you just as much as you into me. My dress will
wash and Kitty lent me a fresh apron."
"That isn't all," said Candace, her tone ex-
pressing real misery. "I don't know what you
will think of me, Cary, but, — here's that note-
book you lost."
tl ~WlfiatV f exclaimed Cary, turning upon her.
' ' My note-book ! And you had it all the time ! ' '
"I didn't know it," said Candace wretchedly.
HARVEST SUPPER 147
"I found it only to-night when Granny wanted
her black shawl to wear. I had it Hallowe'en
for the witch's dress and it hasn't been used
since. The book fell out of it. I suppose that
I picked it up when I gathered my things that
next morning. I feel dreadfully about it,
" Indeed, you ought to," said Cary cruelly.
"You made me lose my mark for October. It's
pretty hard not to believe that you didn't do it
Candace turned pale. "You have no right
to think that," she said indignantly.
"You told me that you didn't see that book,"
Cary went on. "You let me be marked down
because I couldn't find it, and you received the
highest mark yourself. Now you bring it back
and expect me to believe that it was an acci-
"If I took it purposely, what would be the
use of giving it to you now and telling you about
it?" demanded Candace with justifiable indig-
nation. "I should think you would see that if
I took it deliberately, I wouldn't be very likely
ever to return it."
Cary did see that and was silenced.
148 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
"To-morrow morning I shall go to Miss Du-
bois and tell her about it," Candace continued,
pursuing her advantage. ' ' She is just in mark-
ing if she is severe, and she can't help giving
you credit for your October work when she un-
derstands how it happened.' '
"Well," said Cary, "if you do that— Oh,
I suppose it is all right, Candace, — yes, of
course, it is, — but I don't want to talk about it
and I wish it hadn't happened."
Candace turned away, her throat feeling very
lumpy. To confess to Cary had been anything
but easy, and Cary's last words left her feel-
ing more hurt and mortified than ever.
KITTY 'S WEDDING
A few days later, Cary, coming home from
school, gave an exclamation as she found on the
hall table a letter directed to her, and post-
marked from a town in Texas. Her mother
smiled, for she had expected that cry of
"It must be from Janet's brother !" Cary
called excitedly. "Mammy, what fun! ,,
"Bring it out to lunch,' ' said her mother from
the dining-room. "We have already begun.' '
Cary could not wait to eat before opening
this important missive. With her mother's
permission she tore it open at once.
"What a nice, long one!" she began. "Oh,
let me read it to you now. I don't care if things
are getting cold. It's very important, for I
never had a letter from a soldier before. Just
"My dear Miss Cary:" "how nice of him
not to be stiff and call me Miss Dexter!" she
interpolated. "I was tremendously pleased
150 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
with the helmet you made for me which came
yesterday in the package from home. It is a
splendid fit and I really like it better than either
of the two I had, because the opening is big
enough for my whole face and I never could
stand anything over my mouth. I thank you a
"I am through my work now and just hang-
ing around waiting for my commission. I have
qualified as a Reserve Military Aviator, in other
words, have won my wings. Having finished
everything, I haven't had much chance to fly,
lately, for of course the planes are wanted for
cadets still at work, but the other day I received
permission to take a 'bus,' and went off for a
"I had a fine time soaring around and trying
stunts, swooping down on a big interurban car
and making the motorman think I was going to
break my neck, but I was going so much faster
than he that I could stop to give him but one
thrill. After a while, something went wrong
with my engine, so I shut off power and vol-
planed down on the prairie.
1 ' The place I landed was a level bit in rather
rolling country, the great swells of the prairie,
with nothing living in sight except the flocks
of birds that flew up before the airplane. The
engine was very balky and I was intent on it,
when I looked around and caught a thrill my-
self. Coming behind me, with noses up and in-
tense interest written on their faces was a mob
of Texas cattle, cows and steers.
"I had landed into the wind and I suppose
they either saw me come down or perhaps
scented me, at any rate, there they were, com-
KITTY'S WEDDING 151
ing with a purposeful sort of manner that I
didn't fancy. Cattle are very curious, you
know, and probably they wanted to see what
was going on.
"Well, I worked at my engine like mad, and
fortunately the noise of the motor would drive
them to a little distance, but just as soon as
I.shut it off, back they would come, each time a
little nearer. And it looked as though they
were feeling annoyed as well as curious. I
wasn't sure how the wings of my bus would
stand a charge if they chose to make one, so
it was up to me to get that engine going. But
the old thing kept missing fire, and the cattle be-
gan to circle about me, still at a good distance.
Pretty soon two or three began to paw the
ground and rumble in their throats and act gen-
erally as though the fight was on.
"I decided I'd better find a healthier place
to repair that machinery and I was quite sure
the engine would hold for me to get up a height
sufficient so that I could volplane down again
into a less populous bit of prairie a few miles
on. So I hustled into my safety-belt and pre-
pared to leave.
"An airplane when it rises runs for some
distance on its landing wheels before it leaves
the ground. Imagine my feelings when I found
a regular old patriarch of a Texan steer planted
right in my path! If I hit him I wasn't sure
which would be butted off the track, but in the
second I had to think, I took the chance of his
turning tail, and he did. I cleared his back by
about a foot, and when I looked down, he was
still headed for the Gulf of Mexico. The rest
were galloping madly in every direction.
152 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
" After all, I wasn't obliged to laud again,
for my engine experienced a change of heart and
gave no further trouble. I am still wondering
when that steer stopped running.
"As soon as I am commissioned I am going
to make a big effort to get a furlough and come
home for Christmas. If I am stuck as an in-
structor, — kept to teach others, — I may not get
my pass, but if I am posted for active service,
meaning probably France, I shall surely be per-
mitted to come home first. And then I shall
have the pleasure of meeting my sister 's friend.
" Cordially yours,
"Arthur E. Chapin.
"Gracious, wasn't that exciting !" gasped
Cary, concluding the letter. "Wouldn't he
have been in a fix if he hadn 't managed to start
the engine ?"
"A decidedly dangerous one," said her
father. "The cattle of the prairies are used
only to men on horseback and while they are
easily managed as a rule, they will usually turn
at once upon a cowboy who is thrown from hi§
horse. "With his airplane damaged he was
really in rather a serious situation."
"But what a nice, friendly letter," said Mrs.
Dexter. "Now truly, wasn't that better than
risking a 'war son' you didn't know anything
KITTY'S WEDDING 153
"Yes, Mammy," Cary agreed happily.
"Wasn't it kind of him to write more than just
to thank me? I hope he will get his pass. The
Chapins are so anxious to see him. ' '
"Everybody speaks of Arthur as being a re-
markably fine fellow, ' ' said her father. ' ' Come,
Cary, eat your luncheon.' '
"Both the Doctor and Mrs. Chapin felt dread-
fully to have him go, but Janet says that they
would not say anything to prevent him and are
proud that he chose to volunteer so quickly."
"As so many other parents have felt," said
her mother softly. "With most it is a willing
sacrifice, for they cannot do less than the boys
themselves. That is a very nice letter, Cary,
and it is evident that a nice boy wrote it. We
shall all be interested to see him when he comes.
There's the telephone."
"It is for you, Cary," said Lizzie, appearing
in the dining-room. Though she persisted in
addressing Mrs. Dexter as Miss Anne, she called
her husband Charlie, and nothing could induce
her to honor the daughter of the house with any
"It doesn't look as though Cary would get her
luncheon eaten," sighed Mrs. Dexter after some
154 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
moments, listening to the series of exclamations
that formed Cary's share of the dialogue.
"Something exciting must have happened.' '
Presently Cary came flying back, her eyes
wide with astonishment. "Mammy," she ex-
claimed dramatically, "look at the clock! It's
twenty minutes to two. At four, Kitty Met-
calf is to be married to Anson Brooks and all
the girls must hustle to get the church trimmed
"Married!" repeated Mrs. Dexter, evincing
surprise sufficient to satisfy her daughter.
"Yes," declared Cary, eating her cold lunch-
eon in hasty mouthfuls. "Janet says the tel-
egram from Anson came about noon saying he
was ordered on active service, and had five days '
leave and would Kitty marry him immediately.
His train gets in at three and the ceremony is
set for four. They will leave town at once and
she will stay with him till he goes. He 's a naval
ensign, you know, and they think he must have
been assigned to a boat escorting transports.
Kitty hasn't her wedding dress made, but she
has a pretty white one she's never worn, and
she wants to be married in church. Of course
she doesn't expect it to be decorated, doesn't
KITTY'S WEDDING 155
dream of it, but Maud and Dorothy want to
surprise her and so they are asking everybody
to come and help. The boys are already get-
ting pine boughs and we are to beg chrysan-
themums from everybody who has any. I may
pick all that are left in our garden, mayn't I?
Mrs. Price has some white potted ones in her
little hot-house and she is going to lend them.
Janet says it will have to be very simple, but it
will please Kitty so much to have us do it. And
of course with a wedding at four hours ' notice,
lots of relatives can't get here, so Kitty wants
all her friends and all the church people who
care to see her married, to come. Isn't it ex-
citing? No, I couldn't eat anything more; I'll
go pick the chrysanthemums."
Cary's last words sounded from the hall
where she was getting into cap and coat, for the
November day was chilly. The next moment
she was seen flying through the frost-stricken
garden to a sheltered spot where some red but-
ton-chrysanthemums still held up courageous
* * Married on four hours ' notice and with only
five days before her husband must leave her!"
said Mrs. Dexter in a tone of sympathy.
156 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
i t Poor Kitty ! No, — happy, patriotic Kitty ! I
wonder if I can help them. Of course, with no
florist in town, it is quite a problem."
But in this case, as in others, the old proverb
about many hands making light work held true.
For the next hour the pretty little stone church
was the scene of excited labor and, for a time,
great confusion. The expressman bringing
Mrs. Price *s cherished pots of great white blos-
soms, blanketed his horse and stayed to help.
The girls ran about, getting in one another's
way, mixing decorations and hurrying without
need. But Maud and Dorothy, who loved Kitty
dearly, kept their heads and straightened the
mistakes of their excited young assistants. By
quarter past three, the church was fragrant with
pine boughs prettily arranged, the pews of the
center aisle gay with white-tied flowers, the
potted plants on the chancel steps, and the altar
itself beautiful with the choicest blossoms se-
lected from the many gardens that gladly
yielded anything they had for Kitty's wedding.
When the first guest entered, no one could have
guessed that all had been done at such short
notice. Kitty would have the surprise of her
KITTY'S WEDDING 157
life, were her thoughts not too much occupied to
notice the loving tribute of her friends.
And so many and so varied were the people
that filled the church ! Cary, sitting with Janet,
watched them curiously. Mrs. Metcalf was
known for her neighborliness and kindness to
all, and not a few poorly-clad women came from
the lower village, knowing Miss Kitty through
her visits to their less fortunate homes. The
laundress came, the clerk from the grocery came,
even the postmaster, who had delivered many
letters directed in one hand-writing, dropped in
to attend this, the first war-wedding in Ridge-
The organist chanced to be out of town, but
Maud Hilton was delighted at the opportunity
to play for Kitty, and was softly filling the
church with music as people came and came.
Promptly at four, the door into the vestry
opened and Mr. Richards came out, accompanied
by a tall bronzed young man in blue naval uni-
form, with a fine, pleasant face, close-cut hair,
and bearing on his collar the anchors, on sleeve
and shoulder the star and bar of his rank.
Maud's fingers broke into the wedding march
158 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
from Lohengrin just as Mr. Bichards stopped
on the first step of the chancel, and Anson, at
his left, turned and stood at the top of the center
aisle. He was very pale as he faced the church
full of people, many of whom knew him well.
Yet his eyes never wavered from Kitty's face,
his Kitty, coming to meet him on her father's
arm, her eyes only for Anson. As she reached
the head of the aisle, Anson stepped forward
and offered his arm. Kitty dropped that of her
"Dearly beloved brethren," came Mr. Rich-
ards' familiar voice, "we are gathered together
here in the sight of God and in the face of this
company to join together this man and this
woman in holy matrimony."
Cary craned her neck. Kitty wore a simple
white gown, no gloves and her mother's wed-
ding-veil. She carried the lilies Anson's
thoughtfulness provided. Both repeated the
first responses audibly; Mr. Metcalf placed
Kitty's hand in Anson's and stepped back be-
side his wife in the front pew. Now they went
up to the altar to take their vows. More than
a few eyes filled with sudden sympathy for
Kitty, whose clear voice broke when she reached
KITTY'S WEDDING 159
one phrase, — poor Kitty, who could not say
"till death do us part." Yet no one but Anson
saw the steadying hand Mr. Eichards laid upon
her wrist, and Anson himself was almost as
Well, it was over, that first war-wedding.
Kitty smiled bravely right and left as she came
down the aisle, but Anson's young face was set
and determined, as of one who sees a grim duty
before him from which he will not flinch. No
one left the church until Mr. and Mrs. Metcalf
and Anson 's parents followed and all had driven
away. No one even spoke to them, lest one
moment of those precious five days be usurped,
every second of which should be consecrated to
"It was sweet, wasn't it, Mammy!" said
Cary, coming home utterly tired out with excite-
ment and exertion. "Kitty did love our doing
the church. Mrs. Metcalf called Maud and Dor-
othy up to tell them so and asked them to thank
us all. Wasn't Anson swell in his blue uniform
and decorations ? But, Mammy, I think a wed-
ding is kind of unsatisfactory. We flew around
so hard getting that church fixed and then every-
thing was over in ten minutes. And I suppose
160 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
if there had been more time to get ready, every-
body would have worked harder and longer,
but in the end it would have been over just as
" Indeed it was a charming wedding," her
mother agreed. " Kitty 's old-fashioned veil
was quite in keeping with her short dress. I
never saw but one long wedding-veil that I
thought pretty. Most of them look like a heavy
freight train pulling up the aisle. But I believe
you would prefer a wedding in the Greek church.
There the church ceremony lasts two or three
hours, and besides that there is a civil marriage
before a magistrate."
' i Two hours seems better worth all the work, ' '
observed Cary, "but it must be pretty hard on
the bride. Kitty looked as though ten minutes
was all she could stand. I guess, Mammy, it's
better as it is."
A week later the little war-bride came quietly
back to Ridgefield alone, leaving her young hus-
band in New York, bound for an "unknown des-
tination. ' '
Kitty's friends welcomed her gladly, would
have permitted her to pose as a martyr, were
such her wish, but nothing was further from
Kitty's thoughts. Instead, she returned to her
accustomed home and social duties in her own
cheerful way, with only a graver, sweeter, more
mature expression on her face to mark the
change from Kitty Metcalf to Katherine Brooks.
For the younger girls the excitement of the
wedding was soon eclipsed by other events of
importance; for Janet by news that Arthur,
having won his commission, had every hope of
obtaining the coveted pass and coming home
for Christmas ; for Cary by the immediate ap-
proach of the Hatch prize-speaking.
1 62 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
During the days when the High School was an
endowed academy, a trustee instituted this com-
petition, leaving to the school a sum of money
yielding two annual prizes of ten dollars each,
to be awarded during the term to the boy and
girl making the best declamation. The entire
school was required to compete. From each of
the four classes one boy and one girl were
chosen by a critical committee of teachers, and
the eight finally recited before impartial judges,
usually from out of town, and in the presence
of a large audience upon the evening appointed.
To win the Hatch prize was a coveted honor,
even to be one of the chosen eight a position of
envy, and to not a few the acquirement of ten
dollars was much. Naturally Candace was one
of these last, and she threw all her energies into
the preliminary speaking.
Cary cared chiefly for the honor, though even
she had uses for an extra ten dollars, but she
was also conscious of a desire which she knew
to be unworthy, to defeat Candace. After due
thought and consideration she chose for the pre-
liminaries, Alfred Xoyes' "Song of Sherwood,"
a poem which she recited extremely well and
expressively, having heard the poet himself
THE PRIZE-SPEAKING 163
read it. All the Saturday after deciding upon
it, she went around the house declaiming frag-
" 'Love is in the greenwood, dawn is in the skies,
And Marian is waiting with a glory in her eyes.
Hark ! The dazzled laverock climbs the golden steep !
Marian is waiting; is Robin Hood asleep?'"
On Monday at recess, she reported her choice,
as required, to Miss Hathaway.
"Gary, that has already been taken. I'm
sorry, but this morning before school, Candace
Halliday told me that the 'Song of Sherwood'
was her selection."
"Bother!" Cary exclaimed. "How trying!
Isn't that horrid! I could just as well have
come to you myself before school. Does that
mean I can't take it?"
"I'm afraid so," replied the teacher, "un-
less Candace has something else she cares to
recite. You might speak to her about it."
"Xo, I don't want to do that," said Cary
quickly and not very pleasantly. She went to
her next recitation, which happened to be alge-
bra with her father, in so troubled a mood that
she could not give her attention to the lesson
and soon made a mortifying failure. "Was it
1 64 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
accident, when Cary rather pettishly declared
her inability to solve her problem, that led Mr.
Dexter to call next npon Candace, who explained
the theorem correctly and promptly? Accident
or design, it proved the last straw to Cary,
whose eyes filled with tears. She tried to con-
ceal them but felt certain that, later on, she
should hear something from Daddy about that
Her expectations proved correct. After
luncheon, he called her into the study to ask
rather gravely what had been the trouble in
class. Cary had no choice but to tell the whole
"It was my poem,'' she ended, "and I think
it is a shame, when I chose it three days ago,
and I might just as easily have spoken to Miss
Hathaway the minute I reached school. I was
there early enough."
"I am sorry for your disappointment, ' ' said
her father, "but really, Cary, I think it is easier
for you to find another than for Candace. If
you still wish one of Noyes', how about the
legend of Nelson? 'With the patch on his eye
and a pinned-up sleeve, and a soul like a North
sea storm.' That is every bit as stirring as
THE PRIZE-SPEAKING 165
the 'Song of Sherwood' and in these days more
appropriate. You know that in the battle off
Jutland, the English sailors swore that Nelson
was with them in the thick of the fight, that he
was seen on more than one ship. The old boy
promised to come, you know.
" 'If England needs me, dead,
Or living, I'll rise that day!
I'll rise from the darkness under the sea
Ten thousand miles away.' "
Cary listened critically while her father read
her the whole legend of the "Admiral's Ghost.''
"I think I will take it," she said as he fin-
ished. "Only I can never do it like you.
Eeally, I don't know but it gives a chance for
more varied expression than Sherwood. That
is just beautiful music."
"Don't be disappointed if Candace is chosen
after all," said Mr. Dexter as Cary took the
book and stood looking into it. "She speaks
After Cary left the study, Mr. Dexter, as was
customary in any perplexity, sought his wife.
"Anne," said he in a puzzled tone, "isn't there
a way, without hurting Cary's feelings, to get
her a little off this idea of competing for the
1 66 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
Hatch prize? Cary speaks clearly and with ex-
pression, but she hasn't the power, either in
voice or personality, of Candace Halliday. She
or Janet is rather sure to be chosen from Cary's
class. I am sorry Cary is so keen on it, espe-
cially since she and Candace unluckily chose the
same poem. ,,
"I am afraid she will be disappointed,' ' said
Mrs. Dexter after a moment. "I wish she could
see for herself that Candace needs the money
and be willing that she should win. Cary has
never quite got over that affair of the French
exercise-book. I don't myself understand why,
for Candace was much distressed, and explained
so fully to Miss Dubois, that she gave Cary full
marks for October. Still, they were below Can-
dace 's and it seems to rankle, though a sense
of justice ought to show her that it was not Can-
dace 's fault. But I'll do what I can, Charles."
After some thought, Mrs. Dexter gently re-
marked to Cary that it would be wiser not to
care too much about the preliminary competi-
tion, lest she be disappointed, but she felt that
it did no good. On the fateful day she was not
surprised when Cary came home with face
flushed and eyes glittering.
THE PRIZE-SPEAKING 167
"Candace is chosen," she announced
abruptly, "and Larry for the boys. Now,
Mammy, please don't say anything, because I
am sure, and always shall be, that if I could
have kept Sherwood, my dear Sherwood, I might
have stood a better chance. I just don't want
to talk about it."
"How did Janet do?" Mrs. Dexter asked.
"Not as well as usual," Cary replied, tossing
her books upon the table. "She was upset be-
cause May walked in her sleep and knocked a
plant-stand down the front stairs in the middle
of the night and scared herself and everybody
else. May is dear," Cary went on with a de-
termined change of subject. "Have you ever
seen her knit? She can do it without looking
on and Janet says whenever they have callers,
May rushes for her knitting and sits with eyes
fixed on the ceiling. Little sisters are rather
nice, aren't they, Chrissy?" she ended, giving
Christine a hug that made her squeal.
Mrs. Dexter said nothing more and the prize-
speaking was not again mentioned in the But-
terfly House until the evening for the final con-
test, the last day before school closed for the
1 68 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
"Cary," she said to her daughter, "you will
come with Daddy and me, won't you?"
"Are you going?" Cary inquired, looking up
from a bag she was making for Janet.
' ' Oh, yes, it is expected of me. Don 't you be-
lieve it is expected of you also?"
Cary thought for a moment. Her pride was
considerable and she did not wish her school-
mates to criticize.
"Yes, I'll come," she said. "Van is going
to speak something from Julius Caesar and Amy
says he does it very well. I think I'd like to
"Then run up and put on your blue silk
dress," said her mother, greatly relieved at this
ready acquiescence. "You can slip into that
quickly and not keep us waiting."
Having risen to the occasion, Cary's conduct
left nothing to be desired. She met friends and
acquaintances smilingly, responded cordially to
all who, greeting Mrs. Dexter, spoke also to her ;
she listened with a very good counterfeit of in-
terest and approval to the eight declamations
upon widely differing subjects, acted as though
she enjoyed the music while the judges were out
making their decision, appeared excited when,
THE PRIZE-SPEAKING 169
with the opening door of the council room, the
music ended abruptly in the middle of a bar, for
the orchestra of the Eidgefield High School
could not stop to finish any selection when the
announcement of the Hatch prize winners im-
pended. The chairman of the school committee
received the written verdict of the judges, and
standing on the platform, took so long to ad-
just his glasses and read it, that the young peo-
ple fairly squirmed with impatience.
"The judges award the prizes to *A Song of
Sherwood,' spoken by Miss Candace Halliday,
and to Mark Antony's oration, delivered by
Evan Kichards," he said after what seemed in-
terminable eulogies on all eight speakers.
Tremendous applause filled the hall. Mrs.
Dexter did not dare look at her daughter till
she discovered that Cary was applauding most
decorously, though it might have been wholly
for Van, who had spoken with real talent and
great force. Watching her opportunity, Cary
congratulated him heartily and then turned
promptly to Candace, whose face was flushed
with excitement and delight.
"I'm ever so glad you won," her pleased
mother overheard her saying. "You were
170 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
simply splendid and certainly deserved the
prize. ' '
"Cary, you are a darling,' ' said Mrs. Dexter
when they were at home again. "I was so glad
that you spoke to Candace. She would have
felt hurt if you hadn't."
"Mammy," said Cary, half in fun, half in
earnest, "being your very own daughter, I can't
be wholly horrid. Sometimes I think you for-
get that I am your child. And now for the
holidays! To-morrow is Saturday, and even
though Christmas comes Monday, Janet and I
are going to take an hour in the afternoon to
skate. The ice is clear on the lake and Cutler
says it is perfectly safe."
"You must plan to be out a part of every day
this vacation," agreed her mother, and on the
following afternoon, she took pains to tear Cary
from some fascinating Christmas work and send
her over to get Janet. Having watched her
down the path, gay in her pretty sport coat and
cap, skates clicking to every happy skip, she
turned to some work that was being hidden from
Cary's eyes. She was still busy when her hus-
band came and offered to read aloud while the
light lasted. With its fading, he stretched laz-
THE PRIZE-SPEAKING 171
ily on the couch, enjoying to the full the first
day of his well-earned vacation.
They were still talking in the firelit dusk
when Cary came running up the walk and burst
tumultuously into the room.
" Mammy, the most exciting thing has hap-
pened !" she exclaimed. "You can never im-
agine ! ' '
"Can't If" drawled her father. "My im-
agination will stretch from here to kingdom
come. ' '
"You can't guess this," Cary went on.
"You know, Mammy, Arthur Chapin was ex-
pected for Christmas, and of course they were
perfectly delighted, because he may go very
soon to France. He wrote that he could have
ten days' leave and Mrs. Chapin has been plan-
ning for weeks, and cooking all the things Ar-
thur likes. Well, when I went over just now
for Janet, she said they received a telegram
this morning that his pass was revoked and he
could not come.
"You can use your imagination now, Daddy.
Think how the Chapins felt. Janet said her
mother broke down and cried, and they just
hated the cakes and pies they had made. And
172 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
the Doctor felt dreadfully. But after the first,
Mrs. Chapin said they must all brace up, be-
cause it would make Arthur sorry to know they
couldn't stand what he had to. So everybody
tried to be cheerful and Janet went skating with
the rest of us and May was sliding. When we
came from the lake it was just sunset and the
evening train was coming up the valley, looking
so pretty with its lighted windows against the
snow. We watched it into the station and then
I went home with Janet, to see her helmet she
is knitting on four needles. We were all in the
sitting-room when the outside door opened, but
we supposed it was the Doctor. In just a min-
ute the sitting-room door opened softly. I was
right opposite so I looked up before the others
and there stood a tall young man in khaki. It
was only a second before May saw him and she
gave one scream. I knew it must be Arthur for
he has smiling eyes and wavy hair like Janet's.
Mrs. Chapin hugged him and cried on his shoul-
der and Janet seized his other arm and May
must have choked him because she got both
arms round his neck and hung down his back,
kicking her heels. Now, isn't that exciting,
Mammy V 9
THE PRIZE-SPEAKING 173
"Oh, I'm so glad for Mrs. Chapin!" ex-
claimed her mother. "How much Christmas
will mean to her with her bov at home! ,,
"I thought I'd better leave," Cary went on,
"because of course thev had so much to sav to
one another, so I began to hustle into my wraps,
thinking I could sneak out while they were
laughing and crying and talking all at once.
But I couldn't right away, because Janet
stopped me and introduced me, and Arthur
thanked me again for knitting him that helmet.
Oh, he looked so nice, Mammy! I'm so glad
you didn't let me make a helmet for anybody
else. He is tall and slim and his uniform fits
like a gloye, and he has silver bars on his shoul-
ders and a shield with two wings and a gold
U. S. on his left breast and cunning crossed
signal flags on his collar. He's very good-
looking and I don't blame Janet for being crazy
"Well, I tried again to get away but before I
could manage it, the Doctor came. He was
walking slowly and as though he was tired and
kind of discouraged. As he opened the door,
Arthur skipped behind it and the rest hurried
to act as though nothing had happened. They
174 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
couldn't very well because there was a sort of
feeling in the air and Janet was knitting upside
down and May giggling in a perfectly crazy
way, and Mrs. Chapin 's eyes were so happy.
The Doctor saw right off that something was
unusual and he stopped to look about. Arthur
slid an arm round his neck from behind and
kissed him. Dr. Chapin didn't speak, he didn't
say one word, only sat right down in the big
leather chair and pulled Arthur into his lap.
Then Janet and her mother piled on either arm
of the chair and May climbed on top of Arthur,
and I scuttled out through the dining-room. I
guess it is lucky the stoutest chair in the room
happened to be nearest Dr. Chapin !" concluded
"Oh, how lovely for them all!" said Mrs.
Dexter, her eyes filling with sympathetic tears.
"What a beautiful Christmas they will have to-
gether ! I wish that might be possible for every
mother who has given her boy to his country."
"He got permission at the very last mo-
ment," Cary went on, "but didn't telegraph
because he was afraid the trains would be late
or something would happen so he couldn't get
here. I'm crazy for you to see him, Mammy;
THE PRIZE-SPEAKING 175
he is perfectly fascinating in his uniform.
We'll watch for him in church to-morrow."
Next morning, even had Arthur not been es-
corting a mother whose face shone with love
and happy pride, Mrs. Dexter would have
known when he appeared, because of the sud-
den little rustle that passed over the assembled
congregation. From all parts of the church
came welcoming glances and smiles, for almost
everybody there knew and loved Arthur. Slim
and straight he stood in his well-fitting uniform
with the silver bars and the "wings" he had
worked so hard to earn, but his bearing was
boyishly modest. Indeed, his eyes were only
for his mother and the hymnal he shared with
her, but once he looked from her face straight
to the service flag hanging from the chancel
arch, a flag where one star shone for him.
OFF ON SNOW-SHOES
Though feeling herself truly a Ridgefield
girl, Cary rather expected to miss former con-
ditions at Christmas, but found herself pleas-
antly mistaken. The Butterfly House with its
sunny rooms and open fires seemed like a story-
book home, and she found herself enjoying to
the utmost, charming little local customs. On
Christmas eve it was delightful to be with one
of the groups of young people that strayed
around the town singing Christmas carols and
hymns, her group composed of Janet and Ar-
thur, Amy, Cutler, and two or three of the older
girls. Promptly at nine, the music ended, for
none of the parents concerned believed in per-
mitting their children to wander about even so
quiet a place as Ridgefield into the small hours
of the morning.
After the carols, Mrs. Dexter invited all
Cary 's group to share hot chocolate and cookies
OFF ON SNOW-SHOES 177
before the open fire, and Arthur was persuaded
to talk of his work and give them a vivid picture
of life in an aviation camp.
Then even a war Christmas could not be de-
pressing with such a bit of sunshine in the house
as little Christine, perfectly delighted with the
smallest surprise or the tiniest gift. Directly
after the holiday, Cary and her father went to
the city for a ten days' visit among their many
friends, a visit crowded full of good times.
When Cary again came back to Kidgefield, Ar-
thur's leave was over and the Chapins were
facing the task of missing him daily and being
Naturally during his stay and Cary's absence,
Amy had seen less of her friends and was glad
indeed when the usual condition of things was
When Kidgefield visited the main part of the
village, it had a lovable way of "stepping over
street.' ' The expression at first amused Cary,
then she grew to like it and finally ended by
adopting it. One morning in early January,
toward the end of vacation, she announced her
intention of going over street to buy some yarn
and seeing Janet on the way.
178 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
"Buy a yeast-cake also," said her mother,
who was writing letters. "I suppose you will
be back for luncheon 1 ' '
"Oh, yes," said Cary, but she surprised the
family by returning within half an hour.
"Here's Lizzie's yeast-cake, but I didn't stop
for the yarn. I met Amy and she wants us all
to go snow-shoeing. Cutler says the snow is
fairly good. He and Van are going and Janet
and May, too, because May has a new pair of
shoes she is crazy to try."
"Aren't you going to wait until after lunch-
eon?" asked her mother.
"Listen, Mammy, you haven't heard all the
plan. We are to take sandwiches and perhaps
build a fire, and picnic somewhere on the Thorn
"Is it all right for her to go, Charles?" asked
Mrs. Dexter of her husband, busy with his type-
writer over some work for the Public Safety
"Yes, if Cutler is of the party. I would trust
"Won't you come too, Daddy?" asked Cary,
busy pulling on heavy woolen stockings and
OFF OX SNOW-SHOES 179
changing her boots for high moccasins. "We'd
love to have vou. "
"I would if it wasn't for this report, but I
must get it into shape for a meeting at four this
afternoon. Good luck! The day isn't cold and
you ought to have fine sport."
Gary was ready when the party paused at the
gate of the Butterfly House, all with warm out-
ing clothes, moccasins and snow-shoes, even
little May, who was very skillful and kept up
with the rest without special effort. For a time
they straggled on more or less in single file, but
after leaving the town, Cary came abreast of
"I've something to tell you," she began,
"something very sweet."
"What is it?" asked Janet, turning with the
little look of patience that had lingered about
her face ever since Arthur went back to his duty,
— a duty that took him to "an unknown place."
"Last night," said Cary, coming as close as
snow-shoes permitted, "Father and Mother
went out to dinner and I put Chrissy to bed.
She's noticed the service flags on the different
houses and asked why we didn't have one, so
180 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
Mammy explained that everywhere there was a
flag and a star, it meant somebody's son had
gone to war, and we didn't have any boy to go.
"It was just sunset when I took Chrissy up-
stairs, a dim dusky red kind of sunset, and very
bright above the glow the evening star was
shining. Chrissy looked at the clouds and the
star and said she guessed God had put out His
service flag. ' '
"The darling !" exclaimed Janet. "How
sweet of her ! ' '
"Wasn't it?" Cary agreed. "Mother knew
you'd like it."
"It is a lovely thought," said Janet. "And
it does seem, Cary, as though Christ really must
be with the boys at the front. Arthur isn't
the kind who ever says much about things like
that, and when he was home just now, he acted
like a perfect kid, turned a somersault in the
living-room, and chased me around the table,
and hung about the kitchen to scrape the cake
dish, but the letter that came yesterday, the one
that means he is going to France, was so dear
and loving. He told Mother not to worry about
him, for he was with a fine bunch of fellows and
that everywhere he went he carried with him
OFF ON SNOW-SHOES 181
the memory of his home, and then he said:
'You know just that is enough to keep a fellow
out of any temptation, but somehow God seems
very real and close to us now, and death, if it
comes, isn't anything that matters/
"When I write, I'll tell Arthur about Chris-
sy's service flag," she added after a moment,
"and then, when he sees the evening star, he
can know we are thinking that, too. May said
a cunning thing the other day. She was read-
ing the ' Cave Twins ' and in one place, the cave-
mother tells Fire-top, the boy twin, to 'shut
up.' May read it and then said in the most
shocked tone: 'Such language! And from a
"I can't imagine either my mother or yours
saying it to any of us," laughed Cary, "but I
suppose some mothers might. I think Mrs.
Eichards must feel like saying it to Van. I was
there the other day when Van rushed into the
house, shouting for 'Ma!' Mrs. Eichards said
pleasantly, 'Evan, you know I don't like you
to call me that.' So then, just to tease, Van
said 'Ma — Ma,' with a long pause between the
syllables, and then he hugged her and told her
she was 'some old girl!' "
i8 2 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
" Isn't he funny!" laughed Janet. "Do you
know he gave half his prize money to the Ked
Cross ? Nobody suggested it ; he chose to do it
of his own accord, but he insisted on joining his
dog and Amy's cat as members! I guess the
committee must have thought he was crazy, only
Mr. Gill has charge of it and he of course, knows
Van. ' '
Half-way up the Thorn mountain road, Amy
stopped. * i I think I won 't go any farther, ' ' she
said. "I can't for the life of me, keep this
strap tight enough and I'm getting tired."
"Let's eat our lunch then," suggested Janet.
"If you really feel you can't go on, perhaps
May will turn back with you, but we must have
the picnic first or she'll be dreadfully disap-
Amy agreed and called to the rest a short dis-
tance ahead. "Picnic here?" asked Cutler.
"Van and I are always ready to eat."
After building a little fire by the side of the
stone wall, more for fun than anything else, they
proceeded to lunch, everything tasting remark-
ably good and disappearing remarkably fast.
Indeed, the whole party laughed when the last
OFF ON SNOW-SHOES 183
crumb vanished to the sound of the noon whis-
tles blowing over Kidgefield.
"And we are used to having lunch at half-
past one, after school,' ' said Janet. "Now,
May, ducky, you will go back with Amy, won't
you? You see the rest of us want to climb at
least part way up Thorn, and it is too far for
May, who was a sunny child, and fond of
Amy, agreed without protest.
"We will take the thermos bottles," said
Amy. ' ' They aren 't heavy and they '11 be out of
"I suppose it is too hard a climb for May,"
Cary observed, waving her hand to the two dis-
appearing around a curve, "but I wish Amy
was going with us."
"Amy," commented Van, "is all right at a
picnic on fairly level ground, under what you
might call civilized conditions, but really, she
isn't much consolation on a mountain. The
place she walks is rougher and the side she
climbs is steeper and the water she falls into is
wetter than anybody else ever finds."
Cutler grinned at this summary of the luxury-
1 84 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
loving Amy, who in truth did prefer her outings
under comfortable circumstances.
Minus packets of lunch and with nothing to
carry, they made good speed up the short way
between their picnic place and the cottage on
" Let's stop and ask Candace to go with us,"
"You ask her," said Cary. "I don't want
to go in and if we all stop at the door we '11 have
to. Van and I'll keep on through the pasture."
Cutler delayed with Janet, and the others
were half way up the steep cleared slope be-
tween the cottage and the wood-crowned summit
of Thorn before they left the yard.
"Candace would like to come," Janet re-
ported, finally overtaking the advance guard,
"but Granny doesn't seem quite well so she
doesn't want to leave her. And Candace thinks
it is going to snow. ' ■
"Snow!" scoffed Cary, looking at the bright
sunshine all about them. "How absurd!"
"I'm not so sure," said Cutler quietly.
"Those clouds in the west look like it. If the
wind changes, we may get it, but I hope it will
hold off till we have started back again."
OFF ON SNOW-SHOES 185
In a few minutes they plunged into the woods
on Thorn, at first quite free from underbrush,
but becoming ever more dense. Cutler went
first, followed by Van and the girls in single file.
Though there was no visible path and appar-
ently nothing to indicate the proper direction,
Cutler did not waver, except to skirt an occa-
sional fallen tree. He knew and loved the five
mountains of the Ridge and often camped on
them for pleasure.
"Do you know where we are, Janet V 3 asked
Cary over her shoulder.
* ' Only that we are on Thorn, ' ' came the cheer-
ful reply. "Isn't it fun walking in the woods
on snow-shoes? No, I haven't any idea but I
am willing to follow my leader. ' '
"Are you going by compass, Cutler ?" called
Cary, wondering over his sure guidance.
"A kind of one," came the reply. "I forgot
my real one, but I am using my watch as you
always can, if you can see the sun. ' '
After a time, the way grew steep and then
very steep indeed. Such violent exercise made
them all hot and when they paused for breath,
there was a general complaint about the coats
that seemed too warm. The last stage was up
1 86 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
a stony cliff, very difficult to manage, where they
had to discard their snow-shoes and climb in
Cary had twice been on Thorn during the
autumn, once with her father and once with a
party led by Cutler, so she knew how beautiful
and extended was the view, but she was quite
unprepared for the same scene in winter, with
ridge after ridge of snow-covered mountains,
seeming much nearer than when green. The
lakes, too, were ice-bound and the rivers had
vanished in the white landscape. When they
turned to the other side of the summit, Cutler
gave a low whistle.
"Here is Candace's snow/' he remarked, in-
dicating a gray cloud floating upon them, ap-
parently at the level of the mountain. Almost
as he spoke, it caught them in a sudden silent
whirl of flakes that instantly blotted out every-
thing save their immediate surroundings.
"Well, we must go down at once," he added.
"We shall have our trail to follow so there will
be no difficulty. ' 9
"Probably it will pass in a moment,' ' said
Janet. "It may be just one detached cloud.
I've been up here in summer when we would
OFF ON SNOW-SHOES 187
get a cloud-like fog for a few minutes and then
everything would be clear again. "
1 'Come on," said Cutler quietly. " Let's get
back to our side of the slope."
Descending the steep, cone-shaped summit
was even more difficult than climbing up, for the
rocks were slippery and treacherous and hurry-
ing was unsafe. Once at the bottom, there was
a delay over putting on snow-shoes, while stead-
ily the snow whirled in ever increasing volume,
so thick and fast that they could see only a short
distance. Curiously enough, with the snow
came a kind of fog, caused perhaps by the fact
that the temperature was only just below
As soon as the girls were ready, Cutler
started, retracing his steps, but so fast had the
snow fallen that the tracks were already filling.
After half an hour's progress he suddenly
"Didn't we see some other tracks when we
came up?" he asked.
"Yes," Janet replied. "We twice crossed
them. ' '
Cutler stood still, peering through the snow.
To his keen eye it did not look as though the
1 88 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
track they were now following was that of four
people. Somewhere, he had picked up the
" Eight about face," he commanded. " Let's
go back where we are sure of our double track. ' '
Janet and Van turned without comment, but
Cary was startled. * ' Don 't you know where we
are ? ' ' she asked.
" There isn't any reason to be frightened,"
Cutler answered after a pause. "We can't see
the sun, so my watch isn't any use as a compass,
but if we keep going down hill we shall get out
of the woods in time, even if we don't come out
where we went in. And it is so warm, Cary,
that we shall be all right even if it takes some
time. ' '
"Nothing can happen so long as there are
four of us, ' ' added Janet comfortingly.
Thus cheered, Cary began to look upon their
adventure as safe, but as a matter of fact their
very number was the cause of their undoing.
So confused and hopelessly mixed did the trails
presently become, that they had no idea which
to follow or in what way to go. The one they
were on seemed to have been made by a party
but was surely leading them through woods un-
OFF ON SNOW-SHOES 189
familiar to all, though the fast-falling snow
changed the look of everything.
" Isn't it ridiculous that it should snow up
here on Thorn V 9 said Janet cheerfully. "It
often does even when the rest of the Ridge is
clear. Very likely when we come out of the
woods it will be into sunshine. Cary, you are
getting tired ; don 't you want to rest ? ' '
Cary gladly stopped to lean against a sloping
tree-trunk. Though she had quickly learned to
walk on snow-shoes, still she was not as experi-
enced as the others. Cutler paused with the
rest, but Janet saw him glance at his watch.
"Well," he said at length, "I think now the
best thing to do, is to pay no attention to these
old tracks. It was the extra ones that mixed
me up in the beginning. I propose that we sim-
ply go down hill and keep going down till we
strike cleared land."
"Most sensible thing you've thought of,"
commented Van flippantly. Janet also as-
sented, and the four, with no further heed for
the confused trails, followed Cutler, who, judg-
ing by the slope of the ground, led the way
through a storm that grew steadily thicker,
though fortunately no colder.
THROUGH THE STORM
Two hours later found the four still pressing
on through woods that seemed endless. Cutler,
silent as ever, led the way with his even Indian-
like stride. More or less at one side of the girls,
Van skirmished, gliding between the trees with-
Janet and Cary struggled along, Janet speak-
ing occasional encouraging words, accompanied
by increasingly anxious glances at Cary's pale
face, which had lost the glow engendered by ex-
ercise and was becoming white. Cutler noticed
this also, though he made no comment. To help
any one walking on snow-shoes is not easy, for
he could not get near enough Cary to take her
arm, and she indignantly refused to hold the
end of the proffered stick.
In spite of his apparent calm, Cutler was
troubled and worried, for according to all his
calculations, they should long ago have come
TWO HOURS LATER FOUND THE FOUR STILL PRESSING ON THROUGH
WOODS THAT SEEMED ENDLESS. — Page 190.
THROUGH THE STORM 191
out of the woods, presumably on the flank of
Thorn below the Halliday clearing. The situa-
tion was serious, for should darkness find them
still on the mountain, they must stop and try to
make camp, storm or no storm. They could
count on less than an hour more of light. The
only thing was to find a protected spot, collect
fuel and try to erect some kind of shelter. Van
would consider it merely a mild adventure and
Janet Chapin was good sport. Cutler did not
know Gary well enough to feel sure of her. She
might play up, probably would, but he was not
at all certain that she could stand much more
physically, — she was looking pretty white
around the gills. Cutler gradually slanted his
course to bring him nearer Janet.
" Guess we'd better stop when we get to a
good place," he said in a low voice. "We'll
slip into those evergreens right ahead and see
what we can do for a fire and shelter. If we
can find any sort of ledge to build our fire
against we '11 be quite comfy. ' '
Janet gave him a startled glance. She was
not afraid, for she lived an outdoor life and was
a good woodsman herself, but a heavy storm
was raging, they were lost on the Ridge, and had
192 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
no food beyond a little sweet chocolate. Still,
her common sense told her that it was worse
than useless to keep on when they did not know
their direction and when Cary was so tired.
People at home would worry dreadfully, but
they must not think of that, only do the best they
1 ' All right, ' ' she replied briefly.
Cary was now so weary that she could only
just drag one heavy snow-shoe over the other,
too tired to realize how precarious their situa-
tion was. She made no comment when Cutler
and Janet turned toward the thick growth of
evergreen looming dimly ahead. Fortune fa-
vored their choice, for almost at once they came
on a rocky ledge, the base of which was so shel-
tered from the whirling snow that it was free
from drifts. With a fire against its face they
would be well protected.
Both Cutler and Janet wanted to give Cary
a chance to rest, but knew that she must not
stand still else she would take cold.
" Just pick up what wood you can," directed
Cutler, "and don't lose sight of this rock.
We '11 have to be quick or it will be dark before
we get our fire. ' '
THROUGH THE STORM 193
Cary summoned all her courage and stumbled
toward some branches sticking out through the
snow. Presently Cutler came up with a big
"No lack of fuel/' he said cheerfully. "We
are right on the edge of a slash where wood has
been cut by the wholesale. There's enough
round loose to warm the whole of Ridgefield."
"Where is Van?" Janet asked anxiously as
she helped pile the wood.
"He is climbing round in the slash," replied
Cutler, crumpling an old envelope. "Hold
your skirts so as to shelter this, Janet."
Janet did so, but before Cutler struck the
match, a call came from Van, ringing clear
through the storm.
"What is that fool kid saying?" grumbled his
Van thought his remarks of importance.
Since no one would come to him, he finally re-
turned to the ledge.
"I know where we are," he announced.
"Do you?" grunted Cutler. "So do I.
We 're on the Ridge. ' '
"We are on the western slope of Cloud Moun-
tain, not on Thorn at all," Van went on. "If
194 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
you girls can climb across this slash, inside of
five minutes I will take you to a place where
there are at least twenty houses.' '
Janet stared openly. Cutler slowly straight-
ened up from his position over the fire.
" Cloud ?" he repeated. " You're crazy,
Van. ' '
* ' I am not, ' ' retorted Van impishly. ' ' I know
precisely where we are. I picked quarts and
quarts of wild raspberries in this clearing last
summer. ' '
Cutler suddenly left the ledge and went again
into the darkening clearing.
"I believe the kid is right," he announced la-
conically on his return. "If he is, we really are
very near the Cloud Mountain Camp. And we
can probably get into one of the buildings."
"It's worth trying," agreed Janet. "At the
worst, we can come back here."
All this was Greek to Cary, who could only ac-
quiesce in the decision of the others. They left
the ledge and the sheltering woods to plunge
again into the open and the full fury of the
To cross the slash left by the wood-cutters
was anything but easy, especially when ham-
THROUGH THE STORM 195
pered by snow-shoes. Cary stumbled and fell
over a tree trunk, arose doggedly and staggered
on. At the next obstacle she was suddenly
picked up bodily and lifted over it.
"I don't need any help/' gasped Janet, stuck
on the top of a big stump. "I'll be off this in
a minute. Just make it easy for Cary. ' '
Cary was past protest. She submitted with
humiliation to being lifted over the worst ob-
stacles and over a stone wall, which Van hailed
with a whoop of triumph. Once over the wall
they were again in woods, but among trees
cleared of undergrowth, where there really
seemed a path and where progress was simple
and easy. Van skirmished ahead with the as-
surance of one who knows his ground. Within
the promised five minutes after crossing the
slash, they suddenly came on a little square
building at one side of the path. Twenty feet
away stood another and beyond that a third.
"Good boy, Van," exclaimed Cutler approv-
ingly. "Keep on to the main camp."
"What is it?" asked Cary in amazement, for
at the right appeared two more little cabins,
raised on supports on the sloping hillside.
"It is a summer camp, run by a man in Cen-
196 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
terdale," explained Janet. " These are the
little cabins where people sleep. The central
bungalow is not far on. ' '
Walking became easier, for wherever there
was a little house a path led to it, and the main
path was well defined. Very quickly a large
dark mass loomed through the falling snow.
6 l How are we to get in ? ' ' asked Cary, looking
at the shuttered windows and the locked door
Van shook vigorously.
" We'll manage," said Cutler briefly. "Un-
der the circumstances we are justified in break-
ing in if necessary, but I know the ropes. I
worked here a month last summer. ' '
Sliding down a slope to the basement of the
building, he crawled under the high porch and
presently the girls heard him call. They fol-
lowed between a pile of empty boxes and a heap
of snow-covered coal to the door he had forced
Cary dropped on its step too exhausted to un-
fasten her snow-shoes, too tired to protest when
Van did it for her.
"Come on," said Cutler, taking her arm.
"There are stairs to climb. Bring some wood,
THROUGH THE STORM 197
Cary stumbled up the narrow rough staircase,
to emerge in a pitch-dark cold room, damp and
clammy with the feeling of a shut-up place, long
unwarmed and unused. Cutler struck a match,
found the lamp he expected and lighted it. The
girls looked about a large room, one that would
be extremely pleasant in summer, for the shut-
ters closed tight on three sides evidently opened
to make the place but an enclosed bit of the sur-
rounding forest. There was a hardwood floor
for dancing, an immense fireplace, and at one
side a pretty little stage offered opportunity for
amateur theatricals. Some furniture was piled
around the edges, but about the chimney was a
clear space and the girls sank into rocking-
chairs. Presently the boys returned with loads
of fuel and in a very few minutes the weary
young people were rejoicing in the light and
heat of a splendid fire roaring on the disused
"It was clever of you, Van, to recognize
where we were," said Janet approvingly.
"Oh, I fell around in that slash several times
last summer," said Van. "But then there 's
some class to me, anyway."
"What I can't understand is how we have
198 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
turned up on Cloud instead of going down
Thorn,' ' mused Cutler. " After we left the top
we must have turned completely around, gone
north on the Kidge instead of south. I don't
see how I could have been such an idiot. Well,
there's one good thing, we know exactly where
we are now, and it won 't be difficult to let other
people know, too."
"The telephone will be disconnected," said
Van, "even if you can get into the office build-
ing without smashing a window."
"I shouldn't try it," replied Cutler. "Let's
see if we can raise anything to eat."
From chains in the ceiling hung several lan-
terns, one of which contained considerable oil.
Cutler lighted this and disappeared, closely
shadowed by the hungry Van.
"Cary, are you all right?" demanded Janet
anxiously. She had removed her sodden moc-
casins and thrown aside her snow-logged jacket,
but Cary still sat huddled just as she came in,
the water from her clothes dripping on the floor.
"Oh, yes," she replied. "I only feel as
though I never could move again. ' '
Janet finally induced her to remove her wet
moccasins and extra socks. Presently the boys
THROUGH THE STOEM 199
returned with a tin of tomato soup and a large
dish of crackers.
" There's flour and such stuff,' ' Van reported,
"but everything else needs cooking."
No one was inclined to be fussy, and the hot
soup, diluted with melted snow, tasted extremely
"Who owns this camp?" asked Cary, quite
revived by the peppery concoction.
"A man named Bunce," replied Janet. "It
is a nice place and ever so many city people
come here in the summer. We really are on the
other side of the Ridge, Cary, the Centerdale
side, not ours. But Father knows Mr. Bunce
and it is all right for us to come in and to use
this soup. We can pay him afterwards."
"Bunce is a good chap," assented Cutler.
"This is a pleasant place for a girl to come
as waitress," Janet went on. "Mr. and Mrs.
Bunce like young people and have a son and
daughter older than we are. Every summer
they employ half a dozen girls and some boys.
They don't have to work hard and have plenty
of fun. Often they are college students who
want to earn money during vacation. ' '
"I was here myself last August," said Cutler.
200 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
' ' It's a first-class place to put in a little time
and earn some cash.''
"How far are we from home?" asked Cary.
"A good way," replied Cutler briefly. He
was decidedly sore and mortified that his woods-
manship had been so at fault. To his boyish
pride it was a hard blow that he should have
confused the trail, become turned around and
so completely lose all sense of direction.
"Can we get there in the morning?" per-
"Somehow," assented Cutler.
"We aren't so very far from Centerdale,"
supplied Janet. "We can telephone from there
and they will send for us. It is twelve miles or
more by the road. Or perhaps we can find
somebody to drive us over."
"Our mothers will be so worried!" sighed
"Not for long," Cutler announced. "I'm
going to the village to telephone. No, Janet,
I think you girls had better stay here. It's two
miles and a half in the face of the storm. Oh,
yes, I know there is a road, but why not stay
where you are comfortable? Nothing can hap-
pen to you here and Van will keep the fire up."
THROUGH THE STORM 201
"Van is going, too,' ' announced that young
"Not much, sonny,' ' replied Cutler with one
of his rare smiles.
Van made no reply beyond twisting his face
into fearful grimaces.
"Cutler, you will go by the road, won't you?'
Janet asked. "Don't try any short cuts."
"I'll only cut through the pasture here," said
Cutler. "It's safe to do that, for I've walked
it forty times after dark. ' '
As he spoke, Cutler rose and started up the
rough stairs leading from the living-room.
Presently the girls heard him moving about
overhead and soon a pile of blankets came fall-
ing down the stairs. Rather unwillingly Van
helped pull three couches before the fire and
spread the blankets to warm.
"I tell you I am going," he growled, but his
older brother paid no attention to him. Janet
went down-stairs to look from the basement
door into the storm.
"Cutler, I hate to have you go," she said
as she returned. "The storm really is dread-
"I can't have Mother worry," said Cutler,
202 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
who was lacing the shoes he had taken off to
dry. "It isn't fair to any of our families not
to let them know. I'll take the lantern, Janet.
The Bunce house is the first one between here
and the village. They'll take me in for the
night and let me 'phone to Bidgefield. Then
to-morrow morning I'll get up here somehow
after the rest of you."
"If the storm is over we can walk down,"
said Janet with spirit. "I suppose our people
will all worry, but it is a question whether it is
worse for them to be frightened or for you to
risk going to the village. Look at that whirl
of snow that just came down the chimney!"
"I tell you I'm going," muttered Van.
"Come out and help me bring more wood,"
said Cutler, pulling on his woolen cap.
Neither girl knew just what magic Cutler
exercised over his obstreperous young brother,
but Van made no further refusal to stay with
the girls. TTell provided with blankets and
fuel, they watched Cutler's lantern for the
briefest possible space of time before it van-
ished into the snow.
"I think it's dangerous for him to go in this
storm," said Carv with a shiver.
THROUGH THE STORM 203
"Now lie down and let me tuck you in," said
Janet soothingly. "We might just as well go
to sleep and get rested. Nothing can disturb
"Not unless Old Jim gets on the rampage,"
said Van suddenly. "He does revert some-
"Who is he?" asked Cary uneasily,
"Oh, an Indian half-breed round these re-
gions," Van went on. "Gets drunk occasion-
ally, usually when there's a big storm. They
say he wanders round the woods with a toma-
hawk. One day last summer he tried to scalp a
man in Centerdale. They sent him up for it,
but he's loose again."
"Van Richards, keep still," Janet com-
"Van, you're perfectly horrid," complained
Cary. i ' I wish your father could hear you. ' '
"Father has heard me talk most of my life,"
went on the incorrigible Van. " I 'd just as soon
discuss Old Jim with him. Once Jim took a
gun — "
"Van, please don't," begged Janet. "Cary
isn't so used to you as I am."
"Now I think of it, I believe Old Jim must
204 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
have made those tracks up on Thorn, the ones
that threw us off our trail. Granny Halliday
sometimes feeds him."
"Well, if he's on Thorn, he surely isn't on
Cloud, too," snapped Cary, almost ready to cry
between fatigue and nervousness. "I do think
you ought to behave better considering that
your father is a minister."
Van chuckled and Janet laughed. She very
well knew that Van's helpless parents regarded
him much as the hen looked upon her duckling
child. His silent older brother was the only
individual who ever much influenced this clever,
impish young person, and in what Cutler's
power lay was unknown to any one else.
"Do lie down and go to sleep, Van," she
added. ' ' The fire will keep splendidly. ' '
"I want to make candy," announced Van.
"There is molasses in a jug in the kitchen.
Will you help me, Janet?"
Janet shook her head. "I'm too tired, Van,
and besides, we ought not to take the molasses.
Things we need for food are different."
"Bunce won't care," Van went on. "He's a
real sport. And I '11 pay him for the molasses,
Janet. I've some money."
THROUGH THE STORM 205
"Well-1," assented Janet slowly. "If you'll
do that, Van — "
Van hustled into the kitchen, brought back a
jug of molasses so cold that it literally took ten
minutes to pour out enough for the candy, pro-
vided spoon and kettle. Cary, half -asleep and
altogether disapproving, watched through low-
ered lids while the two with infinite trouble
hung the kettle on the crane. Of course it
boiled over and messed the hearth ; of course it
stuck to the pans and their hands, but it made
" Janet, it's ever so good of you to fuss so,''
Cary remarked when Van was returning the
things to the kitchen.
"Oh, well,'' said Janet, "a bey has to be
amused, especially one like Van. It didn't hurt
me any, but now it's nine o'clock and I am
sleepy. Isn't this place pleasant?"
In spite of snow and the rising wind, the big
room was now comfortably warm, and leaping
flames made curious lights and shadows in the
raftered roof. There were plenty of blankets
and the girls were cozy.
"Now that I'm sure the people at home know
and won't worry, this is rather fun," said Cary
206 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
drowsily. "I hope Cutler didn't have a very
hard time getting to Mr. Bunce's."
Van came back, staggering under an immense
log which he added to the fire. ' ' There !" he
said, as he rolled himself in blankets and sub-
sided on his cot. "We are all right now unless
Old Jim spots our tracks and follows us over on
Cloud. Old Jim is a sleuth at trailing."
CLOUD MOUNTAIN CAMP
Judging from their regular breathing, Janet
and Van soon slept, but Cary, who had dozed
while the others were making candy, found her-
self wakeful. While the camp was quite shel-
tered by the rounded hill behind, still the wind
was now sufficient to rattle the shutters and keep
up a clamor, effectually preventing any nervous
person from sleeping. Flakes of snow con-
tinually dropped down the wide chimney, to
hiss and sputter in the flames.
Cary shifted her position and looked at Janet,
who with a hand under one cheek was uncon-
scious of her surroundings. In the fitful light
of the fire her pretty profile was clear cut
against the rough army blankets in which she
was wrapped. Nothing was visible of Van save
a shock of black hair.
1 ' Janet is a real sport, ' ' thought Cary. ' ' She
stood this much better than I have. Of course
208 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
it isn't all so strange to her, and she's known
Cutler and Van all her life. It was good of her
to help Van with that messy candy, when it
made me cross just to have him want to do it. I
suppose having a brother herself, she's more
used to boys. What 's that ! ' '
Cary sat up, clutching her blankets about her.
It sounded as though somebody was walking
heavily along the wide porch of the camp.
For a few seconds Cary sat in silence. There
was no mistake. Some person was outside the
1 i Oh, Janet, ' ' she whispered in fright, reach-
ing for her friend with a trembling hand.
' ' There is a man walking round the porch. Lis-
Janet woke, sat up and listened, her face
grave and concerned.
"Do you think it can be that old Indian V 9
asked Cary in the same anxious whisper.
Janet did not reply. The sound of steps
ceased, but after a moment was distinctly heard
again, this time at the basement door by which
they had entered.
"Van, wake up!" said Janet, casting aside
her blankets and shaking his recumbent form.
CLOUD MOUNTAIN CAMP 209
"Lemme alone !" indignantly muttered Van.
For answer Janet shook him harder and Van,
startled into consciousness, also became aware
that some one was undoubtedly entering the
camp by the lower door. It startled him wide
awake as well and into a sense of responsibility
for the girls.
" Janet, you and Cary sneak upstairs. Cut
up there quick. There are plenty of blankets
in one of the little rooms. If it is Indian Jim,
lock yourselves in. ' '
Noiseless in their stocking-feet, the girls ran
lightly up the rude staircase, but at its top
"I'm going to see who it is," she whispered.
"If it's that old Indian, he's probably drunk
and will just go to sleep before the fire."
Van had withdrawn from the vicinity of the
hearth and partly concealed himself behind
some furniture where he could not easily be
seen by whoever might enter. In breathless
silence the three awaited the slow steps coming
up from the basement.
Though slow, they were perfectly steady and
certain, and the newcomer carried a lantern,
for its light preceded his approach. The next
210 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
moment a man stepped into the room, so covered
with plastered snow and so wrapped for pro-
tection that his features were indistinguishable.
He lifted the lantern, looked at the fire and
about the apparently empty room, then put
down the light to remove his cap and muffler.
"Ah, Mr. Bunce!" exclaimed Van suddenly,
and the speaker emerged from behind the big
rocking-chair. At her side, Gary heard Janet's
sigh of relief.
"Well, sonny,' ' was the slow reply, "so it's
you who's taken shelter here. Who is it, any-
way ? ' '
"Evan Bichards," responded Van. "The
girls went up-stairs when we heard steps.
Thought it was Indian Jim."
"Thought so myself," said Mr. Bunce, re-
moving his snow-laden coat. "About eight
o'clock somebody stopped at my house and said
they'd seen a light on the camp grounds, so I
came up along. Don't mind old Jim's crawling
in from such a storm, but I was afraid he'd be
drunk and burn the place up on me. What was
it? Get caught on the mountain?"
Van quickly explained.
"I'm glad you came in," said Mr. Bunce
The next moment a man stepped into the room. — Page 210.
CLOUD MOUNTAIN CAMP 211
cordially. "Come down back to the fire, girls.
This is Janet Chapin? Yes, I know your father
well. He's done many a good turn for me and
mine. Cary Dexter, is it? Used to see Charlie
when he was a boy. Well, I hope you helped
yourselves to something to eat and found all
the blankets you need. Guess I'd better lug
in some more wood before I take my boots off.
As long as I'm here and all's well I won't peg
back through the storm."
"But, Mr. Bunce," said Janet, her face sud-
denly anxious, "didn't you meet Cutler? He
took a lantern and started for your house to
telephone our people in Eidgefield where we
Mr. Bunce looked at her gravely. "No, I
haven't seen him. What time did he start?"
"It must have been about seven," replied
Janet, growing pale.
"Seven," repeated Mr. Bunce reflectively.
"It was his lantern then that Abner saw. That
would make the time about right. Well, that 's
"Did you come by the road?" asked Van.
"Yes. Did Cutler try a short cut?"
"He said he was going through the pasture,"
212 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
said Janet, her anxiety showing in her voice.
"Hm-m," observed Mr. Bunce thoughtfully,
"that's probably how he missed me. Still, it
couldn't have taken him long to get down to
the road through the pasture. Cutler knows
that path, but of course it is storming consider-
Mr. Bunce did not say anything more. He
looked at Van, and both rose; Van to pull on
his moccasins, Mr. Bunce to put on coat and
1 l Guess Van and I '11 step down as far as the
road, ' ' he remarked cheerfully.
"Wouldn't I better come, too?" asked Janet.
"Guess not," Mr. Bunce replied. "If you
know how to build a fire in the kitchen range,
Janet, you might tackle it. Won 't do any harm
to have a little more heat and then there'll be
something ready to cook breakfast by later on."
"Will you come back here?" Cary asked anx-
"We'll come back," was the reassuring an-
swer. "We'll speak, too, so you needn't feel
afraid of it's being old Jim."
The two went out into the snow, each with
a lighted lantern. Cary and Janet put on their
CLOUD MOUNTAIN CAMP 213
coats and moccasins and began to experiment
with one of the two big stoves in the cold
kitchen. Cary knew absolutely nothing about
building a fire, but Janet went to work in a
masterly manner that compelled admiration.
Cary could only hand wood as needed, and hover
about, watching her companion's expert move-
"Cary, you would never do for a Camp Fire
Girl," said Janet at length. "I must teach you
how to build a fire in the woods when you
haven't even any matches. This is very easy.
Don't you want to take that tin pail and bring
in some snow? It might be just as well to have
hot water. ' '
"Janet, do you think anything has happened
to Cutler?" Cary asked tremulously.
"I hope not," Janet answered, "but I can't
help feeling anxious. It's possible that he
didn't reach the road till after Mr. Bunce passed
the pasture path, but that isn 't likely when Cut-
ler left here at seven and Mr. Bunce didn't start
from the village till after eight. Coming up
to the camp is quite a climb, but going down
ought not to take that long, even in a storm."
Cary looked at her watch. "It's after ten,"
214 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
she remarked. "I wish we could do something
"Keeping the fires will help," said Janet.
"If they go just to the road they ought to be
back inside of an hour."
With many anxious consultations of their
watches, the girls tended the fires, but the dials
showed eleven and after, and nothing happened.
"Weren't you frightened when you heard
those steps?" Cary asked in a pause when both
stove and hearth had been freshly supplied and
there was nothing to do but wait.
"I didn't like it," acknowledged Janet.
* ' Van is only a kid, though he is plucky. I was
relieved to recognize Mr. Bunce."
' ' Wasn 't he nice to us ? ' ' Cary agreed. " He 's
a funny-looking man, but he was as kind as
could be. Janet, don't you think the wind is
There seemed a lull just then and Janet rose
to pace the room. "I wish these shutters were
off so we could see the lights coming. But
everything facing down the hill is closed tight.
Isn't it odd how comfortable we are in here?"
There came a noise at the basement door, fol-
lowed by a shout from Van. Both girls flew to
CLOUD MOUNTAIN CAMP 215
the head of the stairs to look down at Mr. Bunce,
half-carrying, half-supporting, the limp figure
of Cutler Richards.
Neither Janet nor Cary was able afterwards
to give a very clear account of that next half-
hour. Cutler, chilled, though not quite helpless,
with a cut on his forehead and a face disfigured
by congealed blood, was wrapped in blankets
on a cot drawn close to the cheerful kitchen
range. Mr. Bunce, with an approving look at
Janet's hot water, mixed a strong concoction
of ginger and compelled the reluctant Cutler to
swallow it. Van was rubbing his feet.
Midnight passed before Cutler fully came out
of the drowsy state in which he was brought in.
Even then he was confused and unable to say
just what had happened. It was probable that
in climbing the stile from the pasture into the
lane beyond, he had been tripped by his snow-
shoes and in falling struck a rock and lain un-
conscious until the others found him in the lee
of the wall. That wall, reenforced as it was by
high evergreens, protected him from the full
force of the wind and snow, else his condition
would have been worse.
"Now you girls had better go in the other
216 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
room and try to get some rest," directed Mr.
Bunce. "There's nothing more we can do for
Cutler and I shall bunk right here in the rocker
where I can sleep with one eye on him. You
others get back to your cots. I '11 likely come in
now and then to keep up the fire, so don't be
scared if you hear me walking round."
Janet and Cary pulled their cots close to-
gether and lay down with hands clasped under
"Do you think Cutler is badly hurt?" Cary
whispered after a time.
"I don't believe Mr. Bunce thinks so," Janet
replied softly. "Wasn't it a mercy he came
up here? If he hadn't we should never have
known Cutler was out in the storm, and — "
"No, don't," said Cary with a shudder. "I
do like Cutler so much. ' '
"He's true blue," said Janet. "I'm sorry
our people haven't known that we are safe but
it can't be helped. We did all we could."
"Van wanted to start out now and telephone,
but Mr. Bunce would not let him."
"No, it wasn't wise," said Janet. "Let's
try to sleep, Cary, but first let's be thankful
together that Cutler is all right. ' '
CLOUD MOUNTAIN CAMP 217
Both girls finally slept through sheer fatigue
and a sense of safety springing from the pres-
ence of Mr. Bunce. They did not know when
the fire was replenished from time to time dur-
ing the night, but finally woke to the reverbera-
tion of a tin pan dropped on the kitchen floor.
The storm was over, judging from the bright
sunlight filtering through cracks in the shutters.
In the kitchen, Mr. Bunce was capably ma-
nipulating a smoking griddle and a bowl of bat-
ter, while Van, his face showing marked ap-
proval, placed plates, knives and forks upon
the table. Cutler, his head bandaged, was look-
ing pale, but quite himself. Thanks to the
prompt first aid rendered, he had escaped frost-
bite and only limped a little from the wrench
given his ankle during the fall.
"All the luxuries of home," chanted Van.
"Hot water for a wash if you like."
"Towels and a basin up-stairs in my
daughter's room," added Mr. Bunce. "Per-
haps you'll find a comb, too, though I can't be
sure. ' '
Elizabeth's room provided not only a comb,
but soap and a mirror, so that the girls came
down to breakfast, much refreshed by the warm
218 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
water and rearranged braids. Were it not for
the anxiety they knew the home people must be
experiencing, the novelty of this camp break-
fast would have induced them to linger, and
even as it was, the meal was a merry one. Janet
insisted on relieving Mr. Bunce at the griddle
and then Cary took her place, so that all had
any number of cakes, served with delicious
maple syrup and coffee. Then the girls pains-
takingly washed the dishes and left everything
"Mr. Bunce, I think you ought to let us pay
you for all this," said Janet, as she hung up the
"It's a pity," said Mr. Bunce dryly. "I
reckon that I make enough out of this camp in
the summer so that I can afford to entertain
my neighbors in case of need during the winter.
Why, I'd have given Indian Jim his board and
lodging a night like last evening! I guess a
few flapjacks and a little coffee and crackers
won't break me, — no, nor the molasses either,
Van. But now, if you are ready, we'll drop
along down to the village. You won 't need your
snow-shoes. ' '
He spoke in a mysterious fashion with a queer
CLOUD MOUNTAIN CAMP 219
little smile, and the girls laughed as they looked
at each other. The mystery was solved when
they saw the two double-runners awaiting them
outside the bungalow.
"Oh, jolly, we're going to slide," said Van,
prancing about them in delight.
"Janet, did you ever see such a view?"
shrieked Gary, her breath almost taken away.
Mr. Bunce smiled. He was very proud of
Cloud Mountain Camp. To Cary, who had
come through the dark and the storm, the vision
that lay before her seemed almost unreal.
Below the bungalow the hill sloped for over a
mile to the lake, and beyond the lake rose the
mountains; hill, lake and summits alike white
and pure under their heavy covering. The air
was like a combination of wine and crystal.
Under the snow the evergreens bent in graceful
curves, every bough laden.
The girls gazed and gazed and quiet Cutler
also looked and saw more than they did.
"I keep these sleds up at camp for the young
folks when they like to slide,' ' explained Mr.
Bunce. "My girl and boy come up sometimes
for a night and bring along their friends. Cut-
ler, you'd better let Van steer, for it won't do
220 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
to give that ankle another wrench. You two
take the sled with the snow-shoes strapped on it,
and I'll go with the girls. Van, yon give me
three minutes ' start and then follow as close as
you can in my track. ' '
A slide over almost two miles of frozen crust !
This was new to Gary and long before the sled
lost its momentum, she felt that she knew the
joy of flying. Arthur's descriptions meant
more to her, for surely this was the motion of
a bird, the freedom of the wind. Under Mr.
Bunce's skillful steering, the sled skimmed the
snow like a living thing. They finally stopped,
half-way up the last hill on the road to the
4 * Only about ten minutes' walk to my house
now," said their host as they rose with ex-
clamations of delight. "I guess we'd better
get Cutler to let us drag him. I don't want him
to put any strain on that ankle. We'll tele-
phone your folks and see whether it's best for
you to get a man to drive you over from here,
or whether they'll send for you. Koad's too
clogged for an automobile ; you need something
on runners.' '
MORNING ON THORN
Thorn shone just as beautiful as Cloud that
morning under its fresh white garment, but Can-
dace, who loved the mountain and who usually-
looked to it with joy in its every mood, had not
a thought for its wintry splendor. Granny
Granny was very ill indeed. Candace knew
that when she entered the tiny bedroom after re-
ceiving no answer to her morning greeting.
She had purposely omitted speaking until the
fire snapped brightly and the kitchen was com-
paratively warm. Granny felt the cold so much
now that Candace always persuaded her to wait
until she could have a comfortable place to
When Candace went in, Granny lay very
quiet, well-covered and apparently at ease,
but quite unconscious, and breathing only slowly
and at long intervals. Candace felt an almost
222 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
imperceptible pulse. Granny neither saw her
nor heard the despairing voice.
Candace ran into the kitchen and looked down
the unbroken snow of the road. Far below rose
a lazy wreath of smoke from the Parks' chim-
ney. Her nearest neighbors were a mile down
the mountain and she did not dare leave Granny.
Very quickly and efficiently, Candace filled
their one hot-water bottle, put bricks in the
oven to heat, and surrounded her grandmother
with all the artificial warmth at hei command.
Then she wrote a note to Mrs. Park, tied it to
Shep's collar, gave him a little basket to carry
so that he would understand he had an errand,
and ordered him down the mountain road.
Shep gambolled about as Candace accom-
panied him a few yards, but stopped, whined
and looked wistful when she paused with com-
mands for him to keep on alone.
"Shep, you must go, you must!" said poor
Candace. "I can't leave Granny. Oh, Shep,
don't you understand? Take it to Billy. Go
on, good old doggie."
Perhaps the desperation in the voice of his
young mistress penetrated Shep 's already well-
developed intelligence. He suddenly gave a
MORNING ON THORN 223
short muffled bark, as much as he could manage
with the basket-handle in his mouth, and started
at a steady trot down the road, picking his way
among the drifts. Candace watched in relief.
Once he stopped to look back, but she waved her
hand and he kept on, to disappear around a
4 * Even if they telephone Dr. Chapin right
away, it will be two hours .before he can get
here," she sighed as she hurried back to her
grandmother's room. "Perhaps Mrs. Park
will come up. No, I won't expect any one be-
fore nine at the earliest. Granny, darling,
don't you hear me!"
Only once that next half-hour did Candace
look down the road and then it was to wonder
why Shep was not back. She could hardly be-
lieve her ears when long before eight the jingle
of bells reached her. Running to the kitchen
window, she saw a sleigh turn into the yard
and a man get out very hastily.
Candace opened the door with an exclamation
that died on her lips. She did not face the
hoped-for doctor, but the principal of the High
School, looking both tired and pale.
"Candace !" he began, "are the — "
224 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
The sentence stopped unfinished before the
girl 's frightened face. ' ' What is it, Candace ? ' '
he added. "Better tell me at once."
"Oh, come in, Mr. Dexter. I'm so thankful
to see you," gasped Candace, utterly unaware
that they were talking at cross-purposes. "I
don't know what to do."
"When did they go up the mountain?" asked
Mr. Dexter quickly. Only too plain that the
missing young people were not at the cottage
and had not been. Mr. Richards was right.
If they had found refuge there from the storm,
the boys would at least have gone down as far
as the Park house to telephone. "What time
did you see them last?" he added.
Candace put her hand to her throat. "The
girls?" she said in a queer choked voice.
"Haven't they come home? Oh, Mr. Dexter!
6 1 Candace, sit down, ' ' said Mr. Dexter, catch-
ing her before she actually fell. "Here, drink
some water. No, we haven't seen or heard any-
thing from all four. What about Granny?"
"She doesn't speak or know me," Candace
replied, waving her hand toward the open bed-
MORNING ON THORN 225
Mr. Dexter crossed the kitchen and entered
Granny's room. Candace, dragging herself
from her chair, saw him standing by Mrs. Halli-
day. He touched her hands and forehead, felt
her pulse, laid a finger on her heart.
' ' How long has she been like this, Candace ? ' '
he asked very gently.
Candace told her story and how she had sent
Shep for help.
"Here's Shep now," she exclaimed as a
familiar bark and whine came at the outer door.
Shep bounced in, covered with snow which he
proceeded to shake off all over the kitchen, and
wagging his tail violently as he presented Can-
dace with the basket, into which was securely
fastened another note.
"Mrs. Park says she will be right up," she
read in joyful relief. "They couldn't get Dr.
Chapin, but Dr. Greene will come as soon as
Mr. Dexter looked again at Granny's peace-
ful, quiet face, then turned to Candace, so sure
of the doctor's power to save.
"Isn't she just sleeping hard?" Candace
Mr. Dexter could not speak. How could he
226 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
tell poor Candace he was certain Granny would
never speak to her again? Where were Cary
and Janet and the boys? And there towered
Thorn, looking as brilliant and as hard-hearted
as a diamond.
' ' Have you any stimulant in the house ?" he
asked, throwing aside his fur coat.
"There's the stuff Dr. Chapin gave Granny
for her heart," said Candace quickly.
Mr. Dexter looked at the bottle. Carefully
measuring the prescribed dose, he gently lifted
Granny's head and tried to get her to swallow
the medicine, but in vain. He expected noth-
ing else; he was only trying to give Candace
the comfort of action.
"All we can do until the doctor comes, is to
be sure she is warm," he said sympathetically.
"Better bring a quilt from your bed, Candace.
Now tell me just when you saw the children yes-
terday. ' '
"They went past about one," said Candace,
tucking another cover carefully around her
grandmother. "Janet and Cutler stopped to
speak to me. The others were ahead. I
watched them climb the hill behind the house,
for they went up the sheep path. Cary was
MORNING ON THORN 227
having some difficulty with her snow-shoes and
they didn't go very fast."
"Did they say how long they meant to stay!"
"No. It wasn't storming then, only a little
cloudy in the west. Somehow I thought they
probably came out on the trail to Lily Lake, and
that was why I didn't see them come back. If
they went that way, they would have passed the
front of the cottage and we wouldn't have no-
Mr. Dexter scarcely heard Candace's words.
His eyes still on Granny's tranquil old face, he
was thinking intently. Folly to go up Thorn
alone since he had no idea which way the chil-
dren had wandered. There would be no track
to guide him ; the storm and wind had removed
all chance of that. Back in the village were
other anxious parents, and here was poor help-
less Candace. He would trust Dr. Chapin
and Mr. Richards to take thought for his
daughter, for very plainly his next duty was to
Candace, to remain until Mrs. Park should
Fortunately Mrs. Park soon appeared. She
commanded Billy to hustle and Billy did.
Leaving her dishes unwashed and her children
228 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
to their own sweet will, she climbed into the
old milk-pung and step by step the horse flound-
ered up the mountain road. Fat, shapeless, and
toothless as she was, she came as a ministering
angel to Candace, and one of deliverance to Mr.
Dexter, for her first words were of a telephone
i * Your girl's turned up," she announced as
she descended from the sleigh. "They are all
four safe over in Centerdale. Mr. Richards
'phoned me and wanted Billy to head you off
from climbing Thorn. Seems they missed their
way and spent the night in the Cloud Mountain
Camp. ' '
Mr. Dexter waited then, waited until Dr.
Greene came, waited till Granny woke, but woke
in another world. Then, overcoming poor Can-
dace's protests, he very gently insisted that she
should come home with him. Mrs. Park packed
a bag and Candace, dazed and numb with her
sudden bereavement, submitted to be wrapped
warmly and placed in the sleigh. Perhaps no
other person could have had so much influence
with her just then. Through all her aching
pain, she knew that he was her father's friend,
her teacher, and that it was right he should di-
MORNING ON THORN 229
rect matters. And for a little her pride slum-
That telephone message from Centerdale
brought keen relief to three troubled homes.
To be sure, all the parents concerned had such
confidence in Cutler that their anxiety was less
than had the others been alone. All were cer-
tain that he would manage wisely somehow,
would do so, were they compelled to remain
in the woods for the night.
It was after noon before the sleigh from Cen-
terdale broke through the drifts, and by that
time, Eidgefield knew that Granny Halliday
had died that morning. Cary, coming home,
with the exciting hours behind her, heard the
news and found Lizzie preparing the little west
room adjoining her own. She paused in her
tale of adventure to inquire what guest was
"I feel sure your father will bring Candace
back with him, ' ' explained Mrs. Dexter. ' l Poor
girl, I only hope she will let us take care of her
for a little."
"Oh, Mammy, I'm so tired,' ' said Cary sud-
denly. "I didn't know it till just now."
"Of course you are tired after such a night,"
230 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
said her mother sympathetically. " Don't you
want to go to bed, dear, and really rest?"
Cary indignantly refused. ' i No indeed, ' ' she
said. ' ' Mammy, I do think both Janet and Cut-
ler are such bricks. Cutler felt dreadfully be-
cause he couldn't get word to Ridgefield."
"That is just like him," agreed her mother.
"Cary, you look pale. Better lie down for a
To this Cary finally consented. After all, it
was rather pleasant to spend the rest of this
unusual Sunday tucked on the living-room couch
and eat her dinner from a tray. She could not
keep her thoughts from Candace nor decide just
how she felt about her, though she honestly
tried to stifle a wish that Candace would not
come. She listened intently when the telephone
"Yes," she heard her mother say. "Yes, in-
deed, Charles, I knew you would wish to bring
her. Her room is all ready. Give her my love.
Yes, Cary is all right, just tired, as is only na-
tural. No, the others are none the worse, un-
less Cutler develops a cold. Oh, he was out in
more of the storm, — I'll tell you later. Make
MORNING ON THORN 231
Candace understand that I want her, that we all
want her. Yes. Good-by."
Cary turned her face to the pillow. Candace
was coming. Well, perhaps it would not be for
long, and of course it was a pity about Granny's
death. Candace probably loved her. But it
did seem as though somebody else might have
taken her in. There were neighbors who had
always known her, while the Dexters had come
to the Butterfly House only last September. It
was unfortunate that Daddy chanced to be there
and so became involved. If he hadn't, prob-
ably there would have been no question of Can-
dace 's coming. It was just like Daddy, he was
so soft-hearted and always doing things on im-
pulse, like a boy. Well, she would be kind and
nice to Candace, but no real intimacy need be
"What has become of Shep?" Candace asked
Mrs. Dexter fairly jumped. She was alone
with Candace in the cozy library and supposed
that the girl, lying on the broad couch be-
fore the fire, was asleep. A week had passed
since that eventful trip up Thorn and a second
Sunday was drawing to a close.
Candace had been absolutely passive through
the days. She assented to all arrangements
proposed to her, submitted to be cared for and
petted as never before in her independent life,
permitted others to think and plan for her.
Through all, she seemed dazed and silent, even
during the service in the church, for Granny's
many friends could not climb the steep moun-
tain road through the drifted snow. This ques-
tion was the first indication that her numbed
faculties were beginning to wake.
"Shep is at the Parks y Mrs. Dexter replied.
CANDACE PLANS 233
11 Billy loves him and says he seems contented.
The cow and hens are there, too, Candace.
They are being well looked ont for. ' '
"I ought to have thought of them before,"
said Candace after a pause. "I suppose I can't
take care of them now."
Mrs. Dexter dropped the magazine she was
reading and gazed into the iire. Sooner or
later it would be necessary to have a plain talk
with Candace and the girl seemed giving her an
opening. Yet she was not certain that Candace
was sufficiently recovered from the shock of the
past week to be able to endure it. Moreover,
she very much wished her husband to be pres-
ent during that conversation. Candace, with
her unlimited pride and fiery independence,
about which there was something not wholly
commendable, would be more easily managed by
Mr. Dexter. While she hesitated, fearful lest
she say the wrong thing, Candace went on.
" You've been so heavenly kind to me, Mrs.
Dexter," she said. "I have appreciated it.
And I just loved one thing you did for me."
"What was that?" asked Mrs. Dexter, com-
ing to sit beside her young guest on the couch
and possessing herself of one of Candace 's
234 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
hands. They were strong, beautiful hands
though somewhat worn with hard work.
"Something very silly," admitted Candace
with the ghost of a laugh. "You'll think so
when you hear it. A long time ago, I read a
story about a girl who went to visit in a lovely
home, and the first morning they sent her break-
fast up to her in bed. When you came in that
morning with that dainty tray and had me eat
propped on pillows, — why, I felt as though I
were a truly princess in a fairy-tale ! It was the
loveliest thing that ever happened to me in all
my life. And I've let you do it the whole week
just because I adored it so, when I knew all the
time that I ought to get up and dress and not
let myself be waited on. I do thank you more
than I can tell, and I shall always remember
just how the tray and the dishes and the cun-
ning cream-pitcher looked."
Mrs. Dexter could not trust herself to look
at Candace. She was inexplicably touched.
Breakfast in bed was a common incident to her
or to Cary whenever indisposed, yet it seemed
such a wonderful attention to Candace. But
the way she spoke, her use of tenses, indicated
more to follow.
CANDACE PLANS 235
"It has been like a dream," Candace went on,
"and one that I shall think of so often. Dear
Mrs. Dexter, I do thank you for everything
you've done for me, but I can't let you do any
"What have you planned, Candace V 9 asked
Mrs. Dexter, listening eagerly to steps on the
porch. How she hoped they were her hus-
band 's !
"There are two things I might do," Candace
replied. "Perhaps Mrs. Baker will let me keep
on helping her, though I more than suspect she
doesn't really need me. And I think if Mrs.
Park has the cow and the hens, she will let me
live there for what help I can be with the chil-
dren nights and mornings. For I must manage
to go to school."
To the immense relief of his wife, Mr. Dexter
came into the library, bringing a breath of fresh
outside air and looking cold and ready to settle
down. He smiled at them both.
"Charles, come and talk with us," said Mrs.
Dexter. "Candace and I were just discussing
some plans she has made and it will be helpful
to have your opinion. ' '
Mr. Dexter gave his wife a glance, under-
236 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
standing perfectly from her quiet tone, that the
critical moment they awaited and had prepared
for, was at hand. He replenished the fire and
sat down in a big leather-covered chair at a right
angle to the couch.
4 * Where is Cary?" he asked.
i ' She has taken Chrissy out on her sled, ' ' re-
plied Mrs. Dexter. ' ' Tell him about your plans,
Candace. ' '
Candace did so, though fearful that he would
interrupt or oppose, but he only listened quietly
to her nervous explanation of the need she felt
for being independent.
"Of course you must keep on going to
school,' ' he agreed when she had finished and
sat uneasily twisting her fingers in and out of
Mrs. Dexter 's. "But, Candace, there is some
business that must be considered. You are fif-
teen, are you not?"
"Sixteen next June," said Candace, wonder-
ing what this had to do with the matter.
"At any rate a minor," observed Mr. Dex-
ter. "The house and land on Thorn belonged
to your grandmother, didn't they?"
"Yes, I believe so," Candace answered. "I
haven't thought of it for a long time, but I re-
CANDACE PLANS 237
member hearing when Father died that the place
"It is therefore your own property now,"
said Mr. Dexter, "for there are no other heirs
and everything will come to you whether Granny
left a will or not. Now, Candace, the law re-
quires that an administrator be appointed for
your grandmother's estate and a guardian ap-
pointed for your person. It isn't as formidable
as it sounds," he added. "And a minor over
the age of fourteen may at discretion choose her
Candace looked puzzled. "I don't under-
stand," she said.
"A guardian is necessary for a minor child,"
explained Mr. Dexter, "some person who agrees
to be responsible for looking after the child and
her property. In return, the minor is expected
to look upon this guardian as the person to
whom she is responsible, and to whose judg-
ment," Mr. Dexter went on, choosing his words
with care, "she is expected to defer in all mat-
ters where the opinion of an older person is sup-
posed to carry weight, — in other words, to take
the place of a parent until his ward is twenty-
one. A really good guardian," observed Mr.
238 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
Dexter in the most casual manner, "becomes
personally interested in his charge and expects
to be treated as a relative. The law requires
you to choose a guardian, Candace, some per-
son, of course, who is interested in you and is
willing to act in that capacity. Do you know,
I'd feel decidedly pleased if Andrew Halliday's
daughter chose to trust me as her guardian."
Mr. Dexter ended with the charming smile
that had made the boy Charles so liked in Ridge-
field. Canclace stared at him with eyes wide-
open. Mrs. Dexter smiled back at her husband.
Charles was doing very well, if the child wasn't
too much overcome to take it in. She slipped
an arm around Candace.
"Now, there's Thorn," Mr. Dexter went on,
before Candace could do more than gasp. " I 've
wandered over much of Europe, and climbed
many mountains that would consider Thorn only
a hummock of dirt, but I have a feeling for that
mountain that no other ever gave me. Andrew
felt just as I do, and I know you love it, Can-
dace, for I have seen it in your face. Somehow,
I think Andrew would like me to be your guar-
dian, and Thorn would too," he ended whim-
CANDACE PLANS 239
Candace burst into tears, tears of warm feel-
ing that loosened the icy barriers shutting down
around her heart, melted the stern pride with
which she had determined to take up her in-
dependence and face the world alone. It was
not in her nature, craving affection as she did,
to resist that plea.
"Now let us return once more to business,' '
said her kind friend,, some moments later, when
Candace was calmer, cuddled still within Anne
Dexter 's embrace, but much less stiff and un-
yielding. "I don't know exactly the value of
the land on the mountain. Probably it is not
taxed for more than two thousand, but you have
at least that much behind you, Candace. And
the farm has an intangible value that can't be
estimated, for it has a wonderful view and good
water, so that some day some rich man may
want it for a summer home. That location is
worth a good deal to a person who takes a fancy
to it and can pay for his liking. It will be best
to hold it for a time. Then the wood is valu-
able. When I went through the beech grove
this last autumn, I saw that it was ready for
cutting, and that will bring in considerable.
There isn't any need just yet for our ward to
240 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
wash dishes for the stout but estimable Mrs.
Candace smothered an hysterical laugh. She
enjoyed so much Mr. Dexter 's way of stating
"I promise you, Candace," he said to a more
serious objection, "that I will keep an account
of every penny we spend for you, and balance it
against the property you own. You have ac-
cepted me as your guardian, so the first thing is
to let me decide what is best for you to do. For
the present, both Anne and I think you should
remain under our roof."
To Candace, used to counting every cent, the
two thousand dollars so lightly mentioned
seemed an immense sum. To know herself pos-
sessed of property to that amount at once re-
moved her from dependence on kindness. And
it was bliss to have this decided for her.
"If you think I ought, — " she began, with a
little choke in her throat. "But it would be so
lovely that I don't dare feel it is right."
"It is," said Mrs. Dexter, speaking for the
first time. "We want you, Candace, and this is
a matter that older people should decide for
you. Next June, we will discuss the question
CANDACE PLANS 241
again, but for the next six months, this is your
home and you are one of our daughters. I shall
treat you just like Cary, — scold you if neces-
sary, and plan for you and tell you what to
wear and say you mustn't go skating until your
studying is done. Yes, and you must always
get up to breakfast unless you really don't feel
well enough to come down ! ' '
That was the last straw. With rather tear-
ful laughter, Candace concluded her bargain.
They both kissed her, and Mrs. Dexter, with
mock severity, ordered her to go up and make
herself tidy for the chafing-dish supper always
served in the library on Sunday night.
After reaching her room, — that pretty west
room, — Candace stopped to cry a little. She no
longer felt lonely and left out in the world.
How dear these people were to her! Did
friendship always mean so much ? Just because
Mr. Dexter had known and cared for Andrew
Halliday, they were being so heavenly kind to
his daughter. She hoped both Father and
Granny knew all about it. And did Thorn
really care what happened to her?
Candace stopped brushing her hair and looked
up to the mountain, dark against the sunset sky.
242 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
She half suspected that he was rejoicing too;
he looked so friendly to-night like a great guar-
dian angel smiling down at her window.
Another thought struck her suddenly. Uncle
Charles and Aunt Anne, as she was to call
them, had welcomed her very affectionately, but
there was Gary!
Candace paused, brush in hand. Cary had
been nice to her all that past week, in a strictly
aloof, impersonal fashion, not once coming into
Candace 's room except with her mother. Now
Candace thought of it, she had not been one
minute alone with Cary. Janet and Amy both
ran in to kiss her and say some loving words,
but Cary, in the same house, was only quiet and
perfectly pleasant, neither truly sympathetic
For a moment Candace stood looking at
Thorn. Then, because she had faced difficulties
all her life, she faced this one.
"It doesn't matter whether Cary likes me or
not," she thought. "I like her. I'll love her,
and love her so hard that she can't help loving
back just a little."
AN EXPRESS PACKAGE
Charles and Anne Dexter did not take so
important a step as inviting Candace to share
their home without due consideration of Cary.
Theoretically, it would be good for Cary to have
a companion of her own age, and while Mrs.
Dexter knew the slight feeling of jealousy oc-
casionally noticeable in her daughter, Cary's
cordial and sincere congratulations to Candace
on the night of the Hatch prize speaking, led her
mother to believe this spark of antagonism ex-
tinguished. So quick a mind and such marked
intellectual ability as Candace 's would have won
Mr. Dexter 's interest in any case, but when oc-
curring in a student with the further claim of old
family friendship, he was doubly anxious to
help. To his wife, Candace's extraordinary
beauty and promise of latent personal charm
made a strong appeal, but neither would decide
so important a question without their daugh-
ter's spoken approval.
244 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
Cary, really sorry for Candace and touched
by her evident suffering during that hard week,
agreed very quietly and apparently with will-
ingness when consulted about a six-months'
visit. Her assent was perfectly sincere and
she meant to live up to it. Were it ever granted
on good intentions alone, both she and Candace
already merited angels' plumage.
Cary's imagination, however, did not com-
pass the extent of Candace 's devotion to her
parents, especially the mother whom Cary her-
self adored, nor did it occur to Anne Dexter
that Cary could possibly question the quality of
Once a member of the family at the Butterfly
House, Candace immediately tried to take upon
herself some household duties, but Lizzie
promptly ordered her out of the kitchen, an-
nouncing that she could cook her own meals
and clear away her own dishes.
"You can take care of your room and help
Miss Anne any way she'll let you, but I won't
have either you or Cary bothering me," was
Seeing that the girl really missed the house-
hold burdens she had carried all her life, Mrs.
AN EXPRESS PACKAGE 245
Dexter assigned to Candace the daily care of
library and study, duties she herself usually at-
tended to; Cary's share being living-room and
Candace was naturally orderly and a born
housekeeper, qualities possessed by neither
Cary nor her mother. She exercised the art of
dusting without disarranging and always knew
where things were. Never had the southwest
rooms in the Butterfly House been so spotlessly
neat since the days of old Nancy Dexter, and
in that time they lacked the pleasant charm and
lived-in look imparted by their present occu-
Cary hated housework of any description and
made no objection one morning when Candace
ventured to water the plants in all the rooms,
not merely those under her own charge. En-
couraged by this success, Candace openly of-
fered the next Saturday to dust the dining-
"I'd just as soon," she said hesitatingly.
* ' I know you want to get through studying and
"Oh, I ought to do it myself!" sighed Cary.
"Why don't you come skating, too?"
246 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
"I don't know how," Candace admitted.
"I've always lived up the mountain away from
the lake. Please let me do this room."
Cary's unresisting hand gave up the duster.
On the following morning, long before time for
breakfast, the dining-room shone with the ef-
forts of Candace 's skilled fingers and Cary's
control of it was gone. She accepted this in no
spirit of gratitude, because if Candace liked
dusting, it was no hardship to care for an ad-
" Candace," said Mrs. Dexter the Saturday
before school reopened, " would you like to
know what became of that sketch I made of you
in the big chair? I sent it to a New York pub-
lisher who wanted a design for a magazine
cover. He was much pleased with it, but I feel
that a part of its success is due to my model.
Now, you know, Candace, that it is customary
to pay a model for posing, and I want to settle
my just debts. I have chosen to do it by means
of that box the expressman just delivered."
Candace gave a startled look at the large
package Cary placed on the table, bearing the
name of a well-known Boston firm.
"Oh, but I wanted to pose for you, Aunt
AN EXPRESS PACKAGE 247
Anne," she protested. " I was glad to do it. I
couldn't bear to have you pay me."
"The check that came was so generous that
the Eed Cross received a share as well," said
Mrs. Dexter gayly. "Open the box, Candace.
Cary and I had great fun over that order and
we hope you will like it."
"Do hurry, Candace," added Cary, whom her
mother had wisely consulted in the matter.
"I'll cut the string and take off the paper but
you must lift the lid. ' '
Candace knelt before the big box transferred
by Cary to the rug, lifted the lid and a layer of
white paper. She did not speak nor move, only
knelt in silence, her face growing pale.
"Take it out," directed Cary, suiting the ac-
tion to the word, and holding up a pretty one-
piece dress of soft brown material, exactly
harmonizing with Candace 's hair and eyes.
"Do you like it?"
"Like it!" gasped Candace.
"I was right, wasn't I, dear, in thinking
Granny did not wish you to wear black ? ' ' asked
Mrs. Dexter a little anxiously.
"Yes, Aunt Anne," said Candace rather
brokenly. "I never owned anything so lovely.
248 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
I wish Granny might see it. Is it right for me
to accept it?" she asked as simply as a little
"Perfectly right," Mrs. Dexter assured her
promptly, greatly relieved at Candace 's dis-
position to appeal to her opinion. "Try it
"It fits to perfection," Cary announced after
an anxious two minutes. "Candace, you are
simply stunning ! Isn 't that white collar sweet,
Mammy? It's a shade too long but it isn't
hemmed, so that can be fixed in a jiffy. Isn't
"Yes," agreed her mother, "it couldn't be
better and I like its absolute simplicity. That
will do very well for school. ' '
"School!" exclaimed the petrified Candace.
"Yes," Mrs. Dexter replied calmly. "You
need another dress for the severe weather and
if you lay aside your green one now, it will
come in nicely for spring. Yes, Cary," to her
daughter, hovering impatiently about the box.
Candace 's amazement was complete when a
warm woolly brown sport-coat with cap and
gloves to match was placed upon her unresist-
AN EXPRESS PACKAGE 249
" Mammy, she really must have brown shoes/ '
"Yes, but I didn't dare order them," said
Mrs. Dexter. "Here are the proper stockings
and we will get the shoes nearer home. You
look extremely ladylike and nice, Candace, and
the things are both becoming and appropriate.
Now, while we were planning about clothes, I
also ordered a simple dress for Sundays and
times when Cary wears her blue silk. I hope
this will be as satisfactory."
Candace stood dumb before the pretty gray-
green gown of soft crepe, appearing from that
magic box, a little gown, simplicity itself, but
exactly suiting her complexion and coloring.
"She must have slippers as well as boots,"
Mrs. Dexter thought to herself. "I only hope
this mood of meekness will last."
To her relief, Candace repeated her appeal.
"Is it right for me to let you give me these
beautiful things, Aunt Anne?"
"Perfectly right, Candace. You helped me
by posing, and aside from that, it gives me
pleasure to see you so prettily and becomingly
"I know my clothes are too shabby for the
250 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
Butterfly House, " said Candace bravely, "and
it is lovely of you to care how I look, Aunt Anne.
Since you say it is right for me to have them,
I'll enjoy them, oh — I love them! But I can
never thank you properly. "
With her last words, she knelt beside Mrs.
Dexter, holding her in a tight embrace. "I
wish I could do something for you in return,"
"Why, you will, never fear," said Mrs. Dex-
ter, patting the bowed head. "Now, Cary, will
you take Chrissy out while I pin the hem of the
brown dress? I'm not much of a seamstress,
Candace, but I know when a thing looks right,
if you will take the necessary stitches."
Cary and Christine went out, and Mrs. Dex-
ter, arranging the skirt at a becoming length,
made several gentle suggestions to Candace
about the proper care of nails and hair, sug-
gestions received humbly and in good part,
though Candace in truth could scarcely be criti-
cized for neglecting such details under circum-
stances where she was literally too rushed to
think of herself. To take thought about one's
appearance beyond the point of neatness,
Granny considered vanity, and Candace learned
AN EXPRESS PACKAGE 251
with genuine surprise that to look one 's best was
a duty owed both to one's own self-respect and
to others. Acting on this theory, Candace will-
ingly permitted her glorious crown of hair to
be softly puffed about her face, instead of
brushed mercilessly back, even admitted the ef-
fect to be better.
Mrs. Dexter 's thoughtful tact provided that
Candace, wearing the pretty brown dress,
should casually meet several people who
dropped in for Sunday-night tea the following
day ; it even directed Gary, on Monday morning,
to put on a frock that had not hitherto graced
the Ridgefield High School, so that the admir-
ing exclamations of their schoolmates included
One unforeseen and amusing result of that
brown outfit was that the boys discovered Can-
dace. They had always thought her pretty, but
now they voted her a " peach' ' and offered shy
attentions, which by turns embarrassed or an-
noyed her. Her attitude in the matter an-
noyed Cary, who enjoyed the boys, found them
good fun, and couldn't understand why Can-
dace scorned the whole masculine High School,
even Cutler Richards, whom everybody liked.
252 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
■ ' Candace, why don 't you learn to skate and
learn to dance ? ' ' she demanded impatiently one
afternoon. "We'll teach you, any of us. I'll
teach you to dance myself, and the next time a
boy asks you to skate, go with him. He can
take his fun out in holding you up. Better yet,
you shall come out on the pond in the Chapins ,
backyard where May skates, and take a kitchen
chair and wobble around all you like until you
get the stroke. It's part of your education to
know how to do things like that, and if you live
with me, you'll have to learn something frivol-
ous ! I can't stand it if you don't know how to
do anything but read. That's all you do when
you aren't studying. Even Chrissy can play
Chopsticks on the piano, but I don 't believe you
can wiggle your fingers through that! Now,
listen, you must learn to frivol and, yes, — to
"I can do something besides read," flashed
Candace. "Cook, if I have the chance, and
" Yes," admitted Cary, screwing her face into
an expression of tried endurance, "but all that
is useful, and you ought to be enjoyable too.
Now you are to take Mother's skates, — she says
AN EXPRESS PACKAGE 253
so — and come over to the Chapins' with me,
and waltz around that pond, hugging a good
stout chair till you can stand alone, and then
some of us will take you on. But mind, you
must learn to talk, too, for the rest of us can't
discuss Shakespeare and French and Fabre's
essays on insects all the time. You 're in danger
of becoming a horrid highbrow, Candace Halli-
day, and I'm convinced that it's my mission in
life to cure you!"
CAEY ATTENDS A LECTURE
Candace was not wholly unwilling to be forced
into skates and upon the ice. Her friends, ex-
pecting a strenuous time over her efforts, were
agreeably surprised, for with the aid of the
wooden chair she picked up the stroke remark-
ably soon. Being blessed with strong ankles,
she was soon standing alone, and then actually
skating, with Cary and Janet on either side.
" There !" said Cary in triumph, " you '11 soon
be going entirely alone and the next time Larry
asks you to go skating, don 't you dare turn him
down. ' '
Candace herself was amazed at her success,
amazed, too, to find skating so much fun. She
conceded to herself in private that an hour or
so spent on the ice at discreet intervals, might
not be time wholly wasted, but she steadily re-
sisted Cary's resolve to make her dance.
Mrs. Dexter, who watched with amusement
CARY ATTENDS A LECTURE 255
her daughter's funny determination that Can-
dace should learn to play, finally advised Cary
not to press the matter.
"Wait till she wants to learn of her own ac-
cord," she said. "Candace made a big conces-
sion in skating and the other will come. We
must remember that she is still lonely for
Granny and not push her into too much at
"Well, I'll wait, Mammy," agreed Cary.
"But I don't believe Candace will ever learn to
frivol gracefully. Why are you putting on
your very best suit?"
"To attend a meeting of the Mothers' Club,"
sighed Mrs. Dexter, "on a subject that doesn't
interest me in the least, but which they seem
to consider of vital importance, the ' Extermina-
tion of the Rat. ' Cary, don 't you think that 's a
terrible thing to discuss on a cold winter day
in a town like Ridgefield? Have you seen a rat
since we came!"
"Oh, Mammy, how perfectly funny!" giggled
Cary. "If visitors are allowed, do let me go,
"Come if you like. There will be stereopti-
con views of rats. If you want to risk dream-
256 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
ing of them three feet long, come and look at
them by all means. ' '
"When Cary and her mother reached the Town
Hall, the room was already darkened for the
lecture and most of the seats seemed taken.
"We can't sit together, honey,' ' whispered
"You go on ahead,' ' said Cary. "I'll find a
single seat somewhere near the back and then I
needn 't stay through it all. ' '
Mrs. Dexter went part way down the aisle to
a vacant seat at the left. Cary lingered in the
rear long enough to see that for some inexplic-
able reason, the trustful mothers depended
upon Van Eichards to manage the reflectoscope.
Smiling with glee at the probable consequences
of this misguided confidence, she slipped into a
vacant chair in front of two stout ladies, and
very near the back.
The lecturer, a lady from out of town, stood
beside the curtain, discoursing upon the havoo
wrought by rats, their evil repute as carriers
of disease, and the immediate necessity of
sweeping them from the face of the earth. In
her hand she held a buzzer, supposed to warn
the operator that a new slide was wanted, but
CARY ATTENDS A LECTURE 257
the arrangement was so faintly audible that
Van really could not be blamed for not hitting
the proper second on such slight notice. But
delay was not the only variation Van managed
to get into those pictures ; he inserted the slides
sideways, even upside down, and Cary was re-
duced to giggles over a huge rat lying helplessly
on its back. The rat disappeared in a flash,
only to loom out with disconcerting suddenness,
sitting erect on its long tail, the pan from which
it was feeding suspended by some occult means
in mid-air. Did the lecturer mention a fine pub-
lic building in New Orleans, a shanty in New
York appeared ; did she call attention to a lab-
oratory where scientific workers lent their
brains to the work of extermination, Van ex-
hibited a grinning row of little darkies, proudly
holding up to the world double their number of
dead rats. Every queer effect that could pos-
sibly be produced with a stereopticon, electri-
fied that audience till finally the lecturer ex-
cused herself, said the slides must be in the
wrong order, since it was evidently not the
fault of the operator, and went to the back of
the room to rearrange them.
All over the darkened hall arose a hum of
258 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
amused conversation, for Van had certainly
added to the enjoyment of the lecture. Cary,
still smiling over the last misfit, suddenly heard
1 'Yes," said one of the two ladies behind her,
" that was Mrs. Dexter who came in a little late,
and sat over there at the left, Charlie Dexter's
wife, you know. They are the people who have
taken Candace Halliday. I suppose it means
they will adopt her in the end, but they have two
girls of their own, and it 's hard on the one near
Candace 's age. They've dressed Candace up
till she's a regular beauty. Anne Dexter's an
artist and of course it 's fun for her to have such
a pretty girl about, but it's 'most too bad for
her own daughter when her mother turns to a
stranger that way. I hear Candace thinks the
world of Mrs. Dexter and wants to do for her
all the time. What queer things people do!
Some folks may think it 's well enough, but I 'm
mighty sorry for the other girl. ' '
Cary suddenly rose and went out quietly, tak-
ing one keen look at the speaker as she passed.
Her first impulse was to leave the building, but
on second thought she delayed at the back of the
hall, until the slides were sorted and she had a
CARY ATTENDS A LECTURE 259
chance to speak to the boy operator as the lec-
turer returned to the platform.
"Van," she said softly, coming to his side,
■ ' tell me quick. Who is that very stout woman
in the second row from the back over here at
the right, in the end seat, holding a bright blue
hat on her lap 1 ' '
Van turned his intent eyes in the direction in-
dicated. "A fat woman with a sky-blue hat?
Oh, yes, it makes her look like a flat-headed
kingfisher. That's Emmyline Elliott, spelled
with a y, if you please. What about her?"
"Nothing," replied Cary, "only I overheard
her say something I didn't like."
"Forget it," said Van concisely. "Nobody
in Eidgefield ever starts anything in the least
out of the ordinary but Emmyline Elliott fixes
her false teeth in it. Don't talk now, Cary; I
have to turn loose another rat."
Cary went out into the keen air. She knew
Van's advice was doubtless based on real knowl-
edge of the person involved, but in spite of it
she choked back a sob as she set her face toward
the Butterfly House. Any one meeting her
would have noticed onlv that she was in haste,
but Cary was thinking hard and rebelliously.
2 6o AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
She very well knew that Candace adored her
mother. Little by little she thought over events
since that day when they were storm-bound on
Cloud. It was true that Candace watched every
opportunity to do any slight service for Mrs.
Dexter; just yesterday she cleaned her palette.
Cary never thought of doing that in all the
years she had watched her mother paint. Can-
dace did the mending whenever she could, —
Cary's mending as well. She sharpened draw-
ing-pencils; she never let Mrs. Dexter go up-
stairs for any errand that she, Candace, could
do as well. She amused Chrissy when that
young person evinced a disposition to intrude
upon some sketch; when they gathered round
the fire in the evening while Daddy read aloud,
— now Cary thought of it, — Candace would al-
most always contrive to hold one of her mother 's
hands. Certainly Mammy had been very keenly
interested in those clothes for Candace, pleased
because they were so becoming. Yes, — Cary
faced it at last — Candace was truly beautiful
and of course her mother enjoyed that. It must
be nice for her to have such a pretty girl about.
4 * She's far prettier than I am," thought Cary
bitterly. "I know it and I'm willing so far as
CARY ATTENDS A LECTURE 261
she's concerned, but it's terrible if my mother,
my own mammy, likes her best just for that!
And she is exceedingly clever. Mammy was so
pleased with her report last month. She's
ranked the whole school so far the entire year,
and though I had honorable mention, mine
wasn't scholarship of the first grade. It isn't
fair for Candace to have both brains and
beauty. ' '
Poor Cary! All the way home, all the time
she was shut into her own room, she spent think-
ing of incidents of Candace 's devotion and her
mother's evident appreciation, finally coming
to the conclusion that there was nothing at all
to do, no way out of the matter but to suffer in
silence. She heard her father come in, heard
Chrissy laughing delightedly as he romped with
her, and felt an impulse, which she had far bet-
ter have followed, to run down, sit on his knee
and beg him to tell her that Candace could never
usurp her place either with him or her mother.
After a while, Candace came into the adjoin-
ing room, looked into Gary's, but did not see her
in the dusk where she sat huddled in a chair
overlooking the snow-bound lawn. Chrissy 's
pattering feet followed and from their conver-
262 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
sation bedtime seemed imminent. Cary did not
stir. She permitted Candace to put the little
sister to bed, did not even go down when she
heard Candace in the kitchen, for it was Liz-
zie's afternoon out, and lately on that day the
two girls had helped prepare dinner. She sat
alone in the dark until her mother returned.
"You didn't stay through the lecture ?" she
asked as Cary came into the hall. "Not that
you missed anything, for Van mixed no more
slides and things were painfully dull. Is Can-
dace getting dinner alone? Why, Cary, you
ought to be helping. Eun down and tell her
I'll be there just as soon as I slip into another
Without a word, Cary went down to the
kitchen. She slapped butter balls into their
silver plate, filled the glasses, cut bread, but did
not speak to Candace, who after her first pleas-
ant greeting remained unanswered, ventured
nothing beyond an occasional puzzled glance in
Cary's direction. Mrs. Dexter came out, took
the roast from the oven and tasted Candace 's
"Nobody seasons potatoes quite so nicely as
you, ' ' she remarked. " I '11 make the gravy. ' '
CARY ATTENDS A LECTURE 263
' ' Here is the thickening ready," said Can-
dace, presenting a bowl.
" Thoughtful child/ ' returned Mrs. Dexter.
1 ' Would Lizzie let us have spiced grape if she
were here? Let's risk it, Candace."
Candace climbed on a chair to reach the top
shelf of the preserve closet.
"There's something sticky up here," she
said. "I'm afraid a jar has broken."
"Find it if you can," directed Mrs. Dexter,
stirring her gravy. "Hold a lamp, Cary, so
she can see."
Cary took the lamp and held it up stiffly.
"I have it," announced Candace, taking from
the shelf a small jar of strained honey and hold-
ing it from her at arm's length. The next in-
stant the damaged bottom dropped out and the
honey descended in a sticky mass upon the top
of Cary's unprotected head!
"Ow!" shrieked Cary.
"Oh, don't drop the lamp!" cried her mother,
abandoning the gravy and rushing to the
"Candace, how could you!" moaned Cary.
1 i You did it on purpose ! Oh, you horrid thing !
Mother, it 's running down my neck ! ' 9
264 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
"Cary, stop dancing up and down and come
over to the sink," commanded Mrs. Dexter, with
difficulty suppressing her amusement, for Can-
dace, a tragic figure of horror, stood on her high
perch, the broken glass still in her outstretched
hand, dribbling slow drops upon the floor, while
Cary, almost beside herself with anger and dis-
gust, was equally funny.
"I'll never forgive you, Candace Halliday.
I '11 get even with you for doing this ! Mother,
it does feel so!"
"I didn't mean to, Gary," Candace began.
"You did!" snapped Cary.
"Girls, don't talk about it," commanded Mrs.
Dexter. "Candace, don't let that gravy burn.
I've scraped off all I can, Cary."
"It's 'way down my spine !" groaned Cary.
"Now go up-stairs the back way," said Mrs.
Dexter, rolling a towel around Gary's sticky
head, "straight to the bathroom and undress
and take a bath. I'll come and shampoo your
hair. Candace, put these ribbons into the fire
and then give Mr. Dexter his dinner."
"But do eat yours," said Candace, almost in
tears. "Let me help Cary. Oh, I'm so
CARY ATTENDS A LECTURE 265
"I won't let you help me," declared Cary
wrathfully. "I shall never forgive yon. It
isn't funny, Mammy, there's nothing in the least
funny in having a whole hive of honey poured
down your neck! I shall never think so, long
as I live. And she did do it on purpose.' '
The honey-streaked Cary was so absurd in
her wrath that her poor mother had to struggle
mightily with a desire to laugh. But Candace
looked shocked to her very soul.
When Cary, still sputtering violently, had
vanished up the back stairs, Candace turned to
"I never meant to do it," she said solemnly.
"I didn't know it was over her head. I didn't
know the bottom would drop out. ' '
"Of course you didn't," choked Mrs. Dexter.
Then she sat down in Lizzie's rocker and
laughed until she cried.
"Will she ever forgive me!" asked Candace
still so solemnly that Mrs. Dexter laughed again.
"Yes, she'll get over it," was the comforting
response. "Cary is a little pepper-pot while
she is upset, but her storms are brief. When
her hair is washed and she is comfortable again,
she will see how ridiculous it all was. I won-
266 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
der if I dare trust myself to go up-stairs now."
Fully two hours passed before Cary emerged
from the bathroom, cleansed from honey, to
drop exhausted into bed, ready for the dainty
tray of dinner, which Candace brought to her
door, and handed to Mrs. Dexter, whose eyes,
in spite of the strenuous task of shampooing her
daughter's hair, were yet laughing. Candace
herself had not been idle during their period of
seclusion. Lizzie's kitchen required consider-
Next morning, after a night's rest, when Cary
might reasonably be supposed to take a less per-
sonal view of the episode, Candace again tried
to apologize, but Cary coldly refused to discuss
VAN VISITS THE LIBRARY
From different directions but at the same
moment, Amy Richards and her brother Evan
arrived at the Ridgefield Public Library. Van
politely opened the outer door for his sister.
Amy regarded him suspiciously. Extreme
courtesy on Van's part was never a favorable
symptom; still, no immediate outbreak seemed
impending. She stepped into the empty vesti-
bule where on the woodwork of the basement
door hung a neat little framed sign: "Please
brush off snow." Below the sign stood a
Like the tidy, docile child she was, Amy
brushed her boots with care, handed Van the
broom and pushed open the door into the read-
ing-room. Van swept his moccasins, replaced
the broom, looked thoughtfully after his sister,
took down the sign, drew a pencil from his
pocket, wrote a few hasty words upon the brown
268 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
paper back of the frame, hung it up again with
the frame reversed, and demurely entered the
library. The sign now read: "Please close
door to keep out mosquitoes and monkeys.' '
At the desk sat Miss Gilbert, the librarian.
Van was on perfectly good terms with her,
rather liked her in fact, and did not really mind
her smile when he fell over chairs as he usually
did, for it was uncommon for Van to spend any
length of time in any room without tripping
over some piece of furniture. He would have
been grieved to know that Miss Gilbert and her
assistant usually spoke of him to each other as
the "baby elephant,' ' for a sense of humor was
the last thing with which Van credited a person
reputed to know as much as Miss Gilbert. Yet
she could scarcely have been the successful
librarian she was, had she not possessed a very
keen appreciation of the ridiculous and also the
power of keeping her amusement to herself.
Van cautiously surveyed the reading-room.
Mr. Dexter might be present and just now Van
was not anxious to encounter the principal of
the High School, having only that morning
passed some mortifying moments in the office,
VAN VISITS THE LIBRARY 269
during which his sins of omission and commis-
sion were pointed out to him with painful clear-
ness and lurid detail. The interview ended
with a command to Van to transfer his books
and personal possessions to a desk in the cor-
ner of the office, and to occupy said corner when
not actually engaged in recitations, until such
time as Van, through exemplary conduct, should
cause Mr. Dexter to forget his presence.
Mr. Dexter might be lurking in the stacks or
yet in the reference-room, but to a superficial
inspection the coast was clear. At one table sat
Janet Chapin and Candace Halliday, whom Amy
had joined, perhaps by appointment. Old Mr.
Neilson sat reading a paper. Six small chil-
dren were choosing fairy-tales. Two ladies
were looking at magazines. Mr. Gardner was
consulting an encyclopedia. Several feathered
hats were visible in the fiction stacks.
Van advanced to the desk, successfully nego-
tiating one table and four chairs, and asked
Miss Gilbert for a life of Satan.
The librarian, though inured to many strange
questions, — she had just been asked for Shake-
speare 's Lamb Tales — was startled into looking
270 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
searchingly at Van. The mischievous scamp
was probably trying to be funny. But Van ap-
peared perfectly serious.
"What do you want to know about Satan ?"
"I want to know where he was born and when
he died and what his education was," Van ex-
For a second Miss Gilbert was silent. There
was a familiar sound to these questions ; she had
been asked before for information of this na-
ture, though never in connection with the Prince
of Evil. What could the boy mean?
"What have you been reading, Van?" she
" 'Wild Animals I Have Known,' " replied
Van with perfect frankness. "It's on the re-
quired freshman reading list and I have to find
out something about the author. ' '
Miss Gilbert bit her lip. "Oh, yes," she said.
"That author is usually called Thompson-Se-
ton. You '11 find him in this book. ' '
Van took the fat red volume and turned away,
quite unconscious that the librarian left her
desk to enjoy a quiet laugh in a secluded spot.
Seating himself at a table commanding a view
VAN VISITS THE LIBRARY 271
of the whole room, from which he could keep
watch upon all who went or came, he wound his
feet around the chair-legs, and placed the book
in such a position that he could read while rest-
ing his chin upon the table-edge. So contorted,
he looked the imp he was, and Janet, catching
one eye peering around his book, smiled back
Candace did not see Van. Intent upon get-
ting up a topic for the morrow's weekly lesson
in " current events," she paid no attention to
anything except the reviews about her. Every
Friday the last recitation period was devoted
to a public resume of affairs of present interest,
and students from each of the four classes spoke
for three minutes upon subjects of their choice.
To-morrow, Cary, Candace, Albert Frost, and
Harry Jackson were to represent the sopho-
Mr. Dexter emphasized the importance of
these brief speeches and through them stirred
the school to real interest in their history-mak-
ing times. Never before had father's morning
paper been so eagerly demanded by the youth
of the town, never had the weeklies in the public
library enjoyed so many readers. Many a
272 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
country home was brought into closer contact
with the happenings of the world, just because
the echoes of the Friday current events class
penetrated to the four corners of Kidgefield.
Candace had chosen her topic: the introduc-
tion of the English " tanks" on the battle-front
of the Somme. She spoke of it to Aunt Anne,
because she could not find in the study the exact
magazine describing them, and Mrs. Dexter
recommended the file at the public library.
Deaf and blind to all about her, Candace was
trying so to condense and digest the account
that she could give it accurately and concisely
within the time permitted by the little three-
minute sand-glass on the principal 's desk.
Having finished her preparation, she noticed
the heading of the next article: " Women's
Work in the War," and stopped to read it.
Across the room, Van chewed up a pencil,
made a few notes concerning the author he had
so innocently maligned, and rose to exchange
his reference book for a volume of detective
Just within the sheltering stacks, the Eever-
end Henry Kichards was looking through a book
of essays. He knew that his daughter was in
VAX VISITS THE LIBRARY 273
the library, for she had dutifully come to speak
to him, but of his son's presence he remained in
blissful ignorance until a terrific crash in the
otherwise quiet room, informed him of Van's
"Whv Evan could not enter even the church
without falling over a kneeling-bench or a pew-
end or some other perfectly stationary article
of furniture, was a mystery to poor Mr. Eich-
ards. And why a modest, unassuming preacher
of the gospel and his placid, conventional wife
should have thrust upon them a problem like
Evan was a greater mvsterv and one that
seemed beyond explanation. Cutler, a most
satisfactory addition to the familv. had re-
mained so. Obedient, studious, taciturn, with
manlv traits of character, Mr. Eichards could
honestlv sav that Cutler had never given him a
moment's anxietv. Amv was all that could be
desired of a daughter, but from babyhood, Evan
calmly threw the family conventions and pro-
prieties to the winds. To do or say what might
naturally be expected of him, seemed impos-
sible, and poor Mrs. Eichards looked upon him
with unfeigned alarm, not to say despair.
Fortunately in the depth of her husband's
274 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
personality, was a flicker of imagination, a
feeble spark at best, but a glimmer sufficient to
save Evan from forcible coercion. Mr. Rich-
ards did not understand his son, but lie re-
spected bis individuality. So firm was be in bis
opinion that physical discipline was worse than
useless, that Mrs. Richards, helpless to cope
with the situation, repudiated all responsibility
and left Evan, as she piously expressed it, in the
" hands of the Lord," — doubtless the best place
to which she could have consigned him.
But the parish enjoyed the rectory youngest,
and even critical tongues spoke kindly of Van's
pranks. Only the organist and choirmaster,
Mr. Gillespie, after enduring Van as a member
of the choir for four rehearsals and two Sun-
days, politely but firmly refused to tolerate him
longer. He accused Van of no definable sin,
merely stated that his presence was productive
of sinful conduct in others. Van's mother was
sorely disappointed, but Van privately congrat-
ulated himself on having so soon and so easily
accomplished his dismissal.
On another occasion, temporarily thrust by an
admiring junior society into the presiding chair,
Van injected some "punch" into a missionary
VAN VISITS THE LIBRARY 275
meeting by requesting all in favor of a certain
motion to raise the right leg.
When this shocking conduct was reported to
his mother by a highly scandalized older sister —
Cutler, be it noted, merely grinned — Van was
unable to offer any valid excuse.
"It was Amy's fault, Mother,' ' he declared.
1 ' She sat there looking so proper, and I thought
how funny she would be with one of her white
stockings up in the air, and I had to say it. ' '
Yet there was a newcomer in Eidgefield, who
bade fair to understand Van and eventually
help him shape a rather brilliant destiny, though
Van would have scoffed at such a possibility,
especially after the interview of that morning.
Mr. Eichards received an inkling of this one day
when discussing his three children with the
principal of the High School. Mr. Dexter made
no comment on his eulogy of Amy, agreed in
cordial praise of Cutler, but made a puzzling
remark concerning Evan.
"Wait a few years," he said. "Cutler is all
you claim, but while he may count and classify
the morning stars, Van is the one who will hear
them singing together."
This crash in the library reading-room
276 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
sounded only too familiar, and with a pained
expression on his countenance, Mr. Richards
emerged from the stack to find Van picking him-
self out of a chaos of books amid suppressed
giggles from other observers. Who but Van
Eichards could manage to upset a solidly con-
structed revolving bookcase and do it while ap-
parently passing at a safe distance?
Fortunately no damage resulted. Mr. Rich-
ards assisted his scarlet-faced son to right the
stand and replace the books. Then he spoke a
word of apology to Miss Gilbert. As he left the
library, he considered taking Van with him, but
perhaps the boy was really looking up refer-
ences for school work. In the vestibule the sign
caught his attention. In surprise he read its
amended version, but he was not at all surprised
to recognize Van's writing. For a second he
stood wondering whether to call Van out of the
library and make him erase his mischief, but
after the pause he continued on his way out of
the building. He did not even restore the sign
to its original reading. Truly, that faint spark
of imagination flickered sometimes to the credit
of the Reverend Henry Richards as well as to
the salvation of his son Evan.
Mr. Richards emerged from the stack to find Van picking
HIMSELF OUT OF A CHAOS OF BOOKS. — Page 276.
CURRENT EVENTS CLASS
Next day, Candace awaited her turn in i ' cur-
rent events' ' with an anxious heart. She was
sure of her subject, sure she could treat it con-
cisely and within the proper time, but to speak
in public was never easy.
This particular exercise included the whole
school, and was always held in the big hall.
About two hundred pupils were present, and
while all knew one another, there were few who
did not feel embarrassed to rise before that com-
pany and talk without notes.
When the school assembled, the teachers also
came to listen and Mr. Dexter took his seat upon
the platform. First, the seniors spoke, fol-
lowed by the lower classes in turn. No one was
announced, but was expected to rise spontane-
ously in proper order.
Gary Dexter, as coming first alphabetically,
would speak first of the sophomores, Candace
Halliday third, following Albert Frost. Can-
278 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
dace was determined to make her topic a suc-
cess, partly because in every way she wished to
please Uncle Charles, partly for her own fierce
pride in her scholarship.
Relations between her and Cary were still
strained, for since the episode of the broken
honey-jar earlier in the week, Cary showed no
further desire to teach Candace to "frivol,"
and Candace fell back upon her books to console
the feelings wounded by Cary's continued cool-
To-day's exercises were going well. All the
senior speeches were interesting and to the
point; with one exception the juniors merited
praise, — Tom Colbert took more than the al-
lotted time and was obliged to leave half-told
his account of the American ambulance work.
Next came Cary's turn.
Candace did not know Cary's subject. She
had asked, and received the short answer that
it was undecided, but later heard Cary tell her
mother that her preparation was completed.
She rose, dainty, graceful and self-possessed,
and for a second Candace gazed at her wist-
fully. Cary had enjoyed so many advantages
in her life; she had always lived in a lovely
CURRENT EVENTS CLASS 279
home, worn pretty clothes, traveled and known
interesting people. Truly, she was very charm-
ing. But what was Cary saying?
Candace 's heart almost stopped beating. In
her pleasant voice, with a nice choice of words,
Cary was describing the British "tanks" and
their use on the battlefield !
Candace gasped with horror. In a daze,
she listened to such phrases as "caterpillar
traction/ ' "armored fort," "bridging the
trenches." Cary had taken her topic, her very
own topic, stolen her subject, left Candace to
make a mortifying failure, for failure it must
be, since she was to follow immediately after
Albert's speech, a speech that gave her but
three minutes ' grace.
For a moment, Candace was furiously, sicken-
ingly angry, angry as she had seldom been in all
her life. Cary's voice faded into nothingness
as a sudden hot gust of fury swept her from
head to foot. Yet through her rage she
found herself thinking steadily, quickly. Time
enough later to consider whether Cary meant
this ; what she must face now was the question
of her speech, close upon her.
Cary concluded and sat down amid generous
280 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
applause, for she was popular, had undoubtedly
prepared her subject carefully and spoken ex-
tremely well. She did not glance in Candace 's
Albert rose to announce his topic as the ' ' Tak-
ing of Jerusalem. ' ' Three minutes left for
Candace ! She looked up just then to meet Ja-
net 's eyes.
Janet had no idea of what was happening.
No one saw anything unusual, least of all, Mr.
Dexter, who only thought that his attractive lit-
tle daughter had done herself credit. Candace
looked white ; Janet thought she was frightened
at her approaching trial, therefore sent her an
Candace loved Janet, of whom she saw much
more since coming to the Butterfly House, and
that smile decided the matter. When Albert
sat down, blushing over justly earned applause,
She was so pale and held so tightly to the
back of the chair before her that Mr. Dexter, re-
versing the tiny sand-glass at her first word,
feared she was going to fail. But Candace 's
voice was perfectly steady and calm.
"I am going to tell you something of what
CURRENT EVENTS CLASS 281
women are doing in the war," she announced,
and went on unfalteringly to enumerate and
characterize various phases of self-sacrificing
work. Not once did she swerve from her main
topic, not once did she hesitate for a word, to
all appearances it was a perfectly planned and
perfectly delivered speech and it ended just as
the last grain of sand dropped from the upper
half of the glass, yet through all, Candace had
a curious feeling that it was not she who was
speaking, but somebody quite different, some-
body entirely unconnected with Candace Halli-
day. She was startled when her schoolmates
began to clap.
"When she sat down she looked at Cary, whose
eyes were bent on the platform. There was a
little flush on her cheeks, perhaps caused by the
excitement of her own speech, but Cary's ap-
pearance was innocence itself.
Candace did not listen to the freshman topics.
She was certain that Cary had been in the room
when she was looking for that account of the
tanks, sure she heard Aunt Anne 's advice about
going to the library for the missing periodical.
This was doubtless the way Cary had taken to
* * get even ' ' for that baptism of honey, which she
282 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
couldn't see was absurd, nor be willing to for-
And what a revenge! Nobody could ever
prove that she did it purposely; if taxed with
it, Cary could politely deny any previous knowl-
edge of Candace 's subject, perhaps declare, and
possibly with truth, that she selected it first.
The flood of indignation that carried Candace
through her ordeal, subsided as suddenly as it
came, leaving her tired and feeling as though
she had been pounded. Janet gave her another
smile, this time to convey her appreciation of
Candace's success. She received a pathetic lit-
tle one in response, not at all as though the
speaker herself was satisfied.
Directly after that period, school was dis-
missed, and Candace, mechanically gathering
her books, went to the dressing-room.
"You did splendidly," Janet assured her.
"I'm sorry you were frightened, Candace.
You needn't have been for you and Cary were
best of all."
Others also congratulated her, but though
Candace made suitable replies she did not re-
gain her natural color and hastily put on her
wraps and escaped into the air.
CURRENT EVENTS CLASS 283
How she wished she were climbing the moun-
tain road back to the gray cottage on Thorn!
To sit at the same table with Cary Dexter, as
she must do within fifteen minutes, and act as
though nothing had happened, seemed an impos-
sibility. Every mouthful of food would choke
The clear, cold air soon swept the tangles
from Candace 's brain, and before she was half-
way home, she could think more clearly, even
feel more charitable toward Cary, who, after all,
did have a terrible time with that unlucky
honey; could realize that as things stood, she
had decidedly the best of the affair. Not only
had she avoided the ignominious failure Cary
anticipated, but had risen to the occasion and
risen very well.
With this conclusion her spirits rose a little.
Cary could make no comment without betraying
herself, and Candace would take good care not
to speak of the matter. She would keep abso-
lutely still and let Cary think that she, Candace,
had simply changed her mind and meant all
along to speak on women's work in the war.
On reaching the Butterfly House, Candace
ran up to her room, brushed her hair and
284 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
washed her hands, for she had been quick to
fall into Anne Dexter 's dainty ways. She
heard Cary enter the adjoining room on a sim-
ilar errand, but neither spoke.
Luncheon was served as soon as Mr. Dexter
came in. At sight of him Candace felt uneasy.
Suppose he should make some comment on the
exercises of the last hour! Nothing would be
more natural, since both girls had taken part.
Candace steeled herself for this possibility, but
the attack came from quite another quarter,
when Mrs. Dexter, having completed her duties
of serving, looked at her family.
"Why, Candace, how pale you are! Aren't
you feeling well?"
1 * I think I must be hungry, Aunt Anne, ' ' said
Candace, turning the color of a beet.
"Were you frightened when your turn came
to speak ?" asked Mr. Dexter, looking at her.
"You did very well, Candace. So did Cary. I
was proud of both my girls."
At any other time, this speech would have
warmed the cockles of Candace 's loyal heart,
but she scarcely heard it in fear of what might
"Oh, the tanks," said Mrs. Dexter with inter-
CURRENT EVENTS CLASS 285
est. "I don't think you told me your choice,
"You're mixed, Anne," said her husband be-
fore the confused Cary could speak. "Cary
spoke of the tanks; Candace gave us an excel-
lent summary of what women are doing in the
Anne Dexter wasn't easily "mixed" and she
was very certain which of the two girls went to
the public library after the missing number of
the Scientific American, But she was also ex-
tremely quick-witted, and one glance at her
daughter's face, now as flushed as Candace 's,
made her sure that something had gone wrong
at school, equally sure that Mr. Dexter did not
know about it.
"Probably some consequence of that honey,"
she thought to herself. "How silly of Cary to
harbor a grudge for a mere accident. Well, it 's
no use to say more and perhaps precipitate a
scene. ' '
"You'll be interested to know that Chrissy's
crow has turned up again," she said with a sud-
den change of subject. "Mrs. Eandall tele-
phoned me this morning and said her maid
rushed down-stairs screaming and declaring
286 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
there was an evil spirit in her room. When
Mrs. Randall went up, the crow was on the
maid's bed with his wings stretched so that he
looked enormous and seemed to cover half the
quilt. Nothing would reassure the maid but to
have the window-screens put in as though it
At mention of her quondam visitor, Chrissy
monopolized the conversation, and nobody again
referred to the current events class. But Can-
dace, venturing a look at Cary, found Cary
stealing a glance at her, and from the way
Cary's eyes fell, she knew beyond a doubt that
her choice of subject that morning was no chance
ON KIDGE ROAD
After luncheon, Mr. Dexter took his skiis and
left to meet the group of boys with whom he had
promised to climb Cloud ; Mrs. Dexter returned
to the little smock she was embroidering for
Chrissy, Candace went up to her room and Cary
About three, Janet came. From her window,
Candace saw her walking quickly up the street
and paused in her task of darning a stocking, to
see whether she would stop or go on to Amy's.
But Janet opened the gate of the Butterfly
Candace started to go down, then stopped,
wondering whether the call was meant for her
or for Cary. Under ordinary conditions she
would have run down at once, but such thun-
dery atmosphere demanded caution. Only a
few moments passed before Janet's feet were
heard on the stair.
288 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
"Our Lady Anne said you were up here,''
she remarked gayly as she tapped at Candace 's
door. "Come out and slide, Candace, — that's
a dear. Where is Cary?"
"I don't know," Candace replied, putting
down her darning-ball. "I don't believe I'll
go, Janet. I've studying to do."
"But it's Friday," protested Janet, "and the
Kidgefield High School is permitted, yea, en-
couraged, to play upon Fridays. The coasting
is fine. Cutler came for our big double-runner
and all the others are out with theirs. It will
do you good, Candace, and it's a positive duty
to enjoy such a wonderful winter day. Put on
an old skirt so you won't care what happens.
Mother made me wear such a wreck that I feel
like a rag-bag. I wonder where Cary is. ' '
"Were you asking for Cary?" said Lizzie's
voice in the hall. "She took her knitting and
went off toward the rectory."
"We'll stop and see if both of them won't
come," replied Janet. "But Amy doesn't care
much about sliding and I expect Cary's too
"I'll be ready in a minute," said Candace,
slipping off her new school dress and going to
ON RIDGE ROAD 289
the closet for the shabby old serge skirt dating
from the days on Thorn.
Over at the rectory Cary was established on
the couch with her army sweater, while Amy at
the piano was picking out hymns. Now hymn-
playing, even though indulged in during a sec-
ular day and hour, is really not an occupation
to be seriously criticized, but his sister's per-
formance was driving Evan nearly wild.
To begin with, Amy was not truly musical,
and Van, though nothing could induce him to
sing, possessed a correct and sensitive ear.
Then Van simply couldn't endure hymns, and
he had heard a good many during his short life.
It was not the hymns themselves that he so dis-
liked, but the peculiar effect they produced upon
him, — twisting his insides somehow awry, giv-
ing a queer sensation to his knees and his throat.
He was always dumb when hymns were on the
program. Amy's present choice was one of his
pet aversions, well-calculated to torture his in-
most feelings. In these days, he frequently suf-
fered from it in church.
"Wake in our breast the living fires;
The holy faith that warmed our sires.
290 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
Thy hand hath made our nation free;
To die for her is serving Thee."
Van set his teeth and plunged deeper into the
hall closet in search of his missing glove.
Where had it gone ? His precious coasting mo-
ments were fleeting fast. Worse and more of
it! Cary was humming also. Well, she could
at least carry the tune.
"Amy," said Van in desperation, appearing
at the door, "I saw a mouse under that
piano — "
Amy gave a wild shriek, threw up her hands
and took refuge beside Cary on the sofa. Both
girls curled up their feet.
"There's my glove,' ' exclaimed Van, discov-
ering it by the fireplace where he had himself
left it to dry. "Cary, why don't you come
coasting with the bunch 1 ' '
' ' Amy and I are going to knit, ' ' replied Cary.
"Amy," asserted Van, pulling on his recov-
ered glove, "knits exactly the way a donkey
comes down hill. ' '
Cary giggled as Van, with expressive fore-
fingers imitated the eccentric motion of his sis-
ter's needles. "Isn't he dreadful?" she com-
mented as the door slammed behind him.
ON RIDGE ROAD 291
"Dreadful isn't the word," sighed Amy.
"He is the most impossible boy."
The door suddenly opened to admit the head
of the impossible boy. "I forgot to mention,
Amy," he said, grinning wickedly at the two,
"that the mouse was under the piano last Sun-
day. ' '
"Last Sunday!" groaned his sister when
Evan had really gone. "You know my new
muff I had Christmas. It slipped to the floor
during service, and Van not only knelt on it but
stood on it. He said his feet were cold and it
made an excellent prayer-rug. I didn't tell
Mother because she is so discouraged anyway
with Van. This morning she sent him down
cellar to bring six eggs from the jar of water-
glass. He fell up-stairs and broke five. Then
when he came into the kitchen, the gas-stove
broke, and as far as any one could see, he merely
looked at it.
"On Wednesday," Amy continued the cata-
log of her brother's misdemeanors, "there was
a choir supper at the church, and Mother sent a
dish of scalloped macaroni. She packed it care-
fully in a basket and gave it to Van to take to
the parish house. He put it on his sled and
292 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
coasted down hill with it. Well, the macaroni
was eatable and it was eaten, but its good looks
were gone forever.
"This past month his school report was ter-
rible, ,, Amy went on in a shocked undertone.
"He had ' Excellent f in all the studies he likes
and ' Unsatisfactory' in everything else, and of
course in conduct. Van is so queer. Father
hopes Mr. Dexter will have some influence over
him if anybody can. ' '
"Daddy likes Van," observed Cary. "I
know he does and he thinks Van has a lot in
"He has," Amy assented fervently, "and if
some of it ever gets out of his system, it will be
a blessing. Here are Candace and Janet and
they probably want us to come sliding. Do you
want to go 1 "
* ' No, let 's stay here, ' ' Cary answered quickly.
"I don't feel like romping this afternoon, — and
I don't care to be with Candace," she added to
herself as Amy went to the door.
"What! stay in when the snow is white and
the sky is blue and the pines are green?" ex-
claimed Janet. ' ' Oh, well, if you are so anxious
ON RIDGE ROAD 293
to get your knitting along, though we'd like
your company. Tell Cary to come around by
High Street when she goes home. Mrs. Dexter
said she'd come that way from the Eed Cross
meeting and slide with us a few times."
Amy closed the door and Janet ran to over-
take Candace, sauntering slowly on, reported
the failure of her mission and the two joined a
merry crowd at the top of High Street hill.
The street, so-called from its elevation, ran
along the foot of the Eidge, but it had little
claim from the number of its houses to be known
as a street, for it was nothing but a hilly country
road, offering an excellent place for coasting.
The incline fell steep, leveled out, dipped again,
with no sharp bends to prevent the steersman
from seeing his path far before his flying sled.
No small children were on the hill when the
girls arrived, for the youngsters preferred a
gentler slope and a shorter climb, but half a
dozen double-runners were in use and about
fifty people were coasting.
Half-way down High Street hill, another road
led off, turning down a steeper slope into town.
Because of the abrupt pitch and sharp curves,
294 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
this road was less favored by coasters and only
an occasional venturesome spirit strayed from
the straighter path.
Cutler saw the girls as soon as they came and
since he was using Arthur Chapin's sled, called
them to go down with him. The coast lasted a
good three-quarters of a mile, and as they
turned to climb back after the third descent,
another double-runner passed, steered by Van
Richards and bearing Mrs. Dexter among its
merry young passengers. Candace and Janet
waved their hands.
" Let's wait for her," they agreed, and per-
mitted Cutler, Ned and the Jackson twins to
For the next slide the coasters redistributed
themselves. Cutler's sled was almost filled
when the others reached the top and Van pulled
his smaller runner about.
" Stump you to go down Ridge Road," he
called to his brother about to start.
1 ' Cut it out, Van, ' ' Cutler said. * ' Too heavy
a load for that hill."
He added something else which none of them
caught, as the sled slid into the distance. The
light snow rose before it in a powdery shim-
ON RIDGE ROAD 295
mering cloud, the waving colored mufflers of
the coasters made a bright spot in the shining
"We're not too heavy/ ' said Van perversely.
"I'm going to try it."
No one objected, for neither the girls nor Mrs.
Dexter had been down Eidge Road that winter.
Van took his place at the wheel, Janet came
next, then Mrs. Dexter and Candace last. They
flew down High Street, swerved from the beaten
track, and dropped down the first steep dip of
Had the driver of the empty wood-sled which
was climbing by the less-used way, remembered
to put bells on his horses that afternoon, Van
might have heard their jingle; had there been
any previous coasters on the road, the driver
might have given more thought to which side he
took at a curve, but there were no warning bells
and the first the teamster knew was when the
double-runner with its merry crew flashed upon
him, coming thirty miles an hour.
Evan did his best. He jerked the wheel to
the right, brought the sled into the gutter, but
the rear runners slewed.
Half a minute later, Van, unhurt except for a
296 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
bumped head and a bleeding nose, picked him-
self up. From a bank of snow at his left, Janet
was rising. Candace was already on her feet,
but in the middle of the road, quiet and motion-
less, lay Mrs. Dexter.
Bad news, like rumor, travels far and travels
fast. Though the accident took place on an
unfrequented and lonely road, little time elapsed
before word reached Ridgefield. It sped down
High Street Hill on a flying sled, it hastened up
Main Street by a passing automobile, gaining
in horror at each house.
When Mr. Dexter, with his merry young com-
panions, slid down Cloud and skiied into town,
pitying eyes watched his progress. His wife
had been coasting, Evan Richards had upset the
sled, and her wrist and ankle were broken. The
next house had both wrists and one ankle; a
third claimed it to be three ribs and her back;
the fourth that it was her neck. The one point
on which all were agreed was the responsibility
Back on the wood road, where three terrified
young people and a much frightened teamster
298 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
stood around Mrs. Dexter 's unconscious person,
Van was experiencing the bitterness of despair.
All the High School students admired the tal-
ented, charming wife of their principal, but
Van's feeling for her was mute adoration.
And now he had doubtless killed her !
Disregardful of his bleeding nose, he stood
in dumb horror. Janet, ever self-possessed,
was first to shake off the paralysis of fear that
held them all. Flinging herself on her knees
beside Mrs. Dexter, she began to apply snow to
the colorless face. After a few seconds the
gray eyes opened, looked vaguely at Janet, only
to close again.
" Thank Heaven! she's alive!" muttered Ja-
net. "Lady Anne, dear Lady Anne, tell us
where you're hurt."
No answer came to her pleading and Janet
continued to rub her face with snow. In a mo-
ment Mrs. Dexter spoke, though che did not
open her eyes.
"That's enough, Janet. Just let me lie
quietly until I get my breath. ' '
"Dear Aunt Anne," sobbed Candace, "are
VAN'S EVENING 299
Two or three minutes passed, minutes that
seemed an eternity to the anxious watchers.
"Help me sit up, girls," she said at length,
"but don't touch my left arm. I think it's
broken. ' '
At the unnatural, limp position of that arm,
Candace gave a gasp of horror. Holding Mrs.
Dexter in a sitting position, Janet still knelt in
. "Don't be frightened," said Mrs. Dexter
after another pause. "I think it is only my
arm, except that I feel dreadfully shaken to
"I'll turn my sled right round and take you
home," offered the teamster. "There are
horse-blankets to sit on, and the girls can sort
of ease you along. As for you, Van Richards,
you've a good man for a father, but how you
ever happened to be his son beats me!"
"Don't. Poor Van!" murmured Mrs. Dex-
ter, too faint and ill to offer further protest.
So the coasting party came sadly home. At
a distance the dejected Van followed, wishing
at every step that the earth would open for him
as for Marcus Curtius, or that in place of a
300 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
Eoman forum where a gulf might yawn, Thorn
would change into Vesuvius and bury him in an
eruption of flame and lava.
Kumor reached Cary, still at the rectory, and
she flew home in terror, arriving just as did
Mr. Dexter, who skiied through town on the
wings of the wind. Already the sun had
dropped behind the Kidge, and kindly darkness
fell about the mournful arrival, a sheltering cur-
tain that concealed Anne Dexter 's white face
and weary attitude, Janet 's skirt, fit only for the
ragman now, Candace 's tumbled hair and tear-
Nothing like trouble or danger shared in com-
mon can so quickly sweep the dominance of self
from our souls. During the rest of that strange
confused evening, neither Cary nor Candace
thought of the differences and dissension be-
tween them. Dr. Chapin set the broken arm, a
very pretty break, he styled it, examined every
bone with care and pronounced Mrs. Dexter
otherwise unhurt except for the nervous shock.
Cary waited on the doctor, helped her mother
to bed, flew up and down stairs like the loving
daughter she was. Candace found her hands
full with little Christine, who, frightened by the
VAN'S EVENING 301
confusion, wanted the mother she could not
have. Candace coaxed her into Lizzie's pleas-
ant kitchen, prepared her supper, told her
stories while she ate, and then carried her up-
stairs to make a frolic of undressing and bath.
She tucked Chrissy into bed with a good-night
song, doing all so successfully that the contented
baby went to sleep without further fretting for
When the regular breathing showed Candace
that the little one would not know of her going,
she stole quietly down again, to meet Lizzie in
"Candace, will you tend the bell?" she asked.
"It rings all the time, either that or the tele-
phone, for half the town is asking for Miss
Anne. My bread has riz up on me, and it will
sour if I don 't turn to and shove it in. ' '
Candace assented willingly. Cary and her
father were both with Mrs. Dexter and she
would do anything to be of service. Slipping
into the living-room, dark and deserted, she
snapped on the low table-light. As she turned
to the hearth where the logs had fallen apart,
she stopped with a gasp of surprise.
"Van, how you startled me!" she exclaimed,
302 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
recognizing the boy huddled on the couch.
Van lifted a misery-stricken face. "Is she
going to die?" he asked mechanically.
' ' Oh, you poor boy, hasn 't any one told you 1 ' '
said Candace sympathetically. "Dr. Chapin
says she isn 't hurt except for the shock and her
arm. There's the bell again. "
Candace went to answer it and Van, listen-
ing to voices in the hall, recognized that of his
father. Acting on blind impulse, he dashed for
the nearest door. Alas for Van — his ill-luck
held and he landed in the sitting-room closet.
Some one entered the room; Candace 's feet
passed up the stairs over Van's head; others de-
"Oh, is it you, Harry ?" came the principal's
"Yes. How is she?" asked the rector anx-
Again Van listened to a synopsis of Dr. Cha-
pin 's verdict. There was no escape from that
closet and it wasn't dishonorable to listen, for
he couldn't hear anything good of himself. No-
body in Kidgefield could possibly have a good
word to speak for him.
" It is a genuine grief to us that Evan should
VAN'S EVENING 303
have caused this accident," Mr. Kichards was
saying. "My sons seem fated to get your fam-
ily into difficulties. I didn't blame Cutler so
much, but Evan — "
Could Van believe his ears ? Mr. Dexter, who
only yesterday gave him such a terrific over-
hauling, was actually taking his part.
"Why, this was wholly an accident. I don't
feel inclined to criticize Van. The girls, Anne
herself, say he did the best he could. ' '
"Cutler told him not to coast on Eidge Eoad,
told him it was dangerous. Evan should have
"No boy likes to obey orders from an older
brother," came the reply. "Don't be hard on
Van; he knows his mistake now. Is he at
"We haven't seen him," said Van's father in
a discouraged tone. "If Evan were like most
boys, I should expect him to show proper dis-
tress and remorse, but he never seems to feel
things like other people. ' '
It was then that Mr. Dexter made the most
astonishing comment of all.
"Doesn't feel?" he repeated. "I grant that
Evan doesn't show his feelings, but I give him
304 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
credit for having them, and rather intense ones,
They passed from discussion of Van and his
shortcomings, but the involuntary listener did
not forget that remark. It gave him courage
when the outer door closed upon his father, to
steal from his hiding-place and intercept Mr.
Dexter in the hall.
"Oh, will you tell her," he begged, "just tell
her that I never meant to hurt her?"
"Why, she knows it, Van," said the principal
kindly, not showing the slightest surprise at
Evan's sudden incarnation in his front hall.
"I wish I'd smashed up myself," Van went
on brokenly, but stopped with a single eloquent
gesture of both hands, a motion that arrested
Mr. Dexter 's attention, occupied with other
matters though he was. He had watched Van
with interest at the prize-speaking, struck by
the boy's unusual power of interpretation.
Dumb and inarticulate though he seemed, Van
could express himself and, moreover, possessed
something worth putting into words. An
amused thought crossed Mr. Dexter 's mind.
How would Van's gentle, unworldly father and
his conventional mother feel if their ugly duck-
VAN'S EVENING 305
ling should some day make himself famous?
That Van was not merely clever and eccentric
but had real and genuine ability of some kind
was Mr. Dexter 's private opinion, as yet shared
with none but his wife. But how Van's tragic
eyes burned in his white face! This was the
boy characterized by his own father as " unfeel-
Mr. Dexter 's own eyes grew very kind. He
had forgotten that youth could suffer so in-
"Van, you shall see and tell her for your-
self,' ' he said gently. "That will be best for
you both. Come up with me.' '
At the head of the stairs he stopped. "Would
you mind stepping into the bathroom first!"
he asked. "You see your nose has been bleed-
ing and the effect, when one sees you suddenly,
is, er — , rather startling," he ended delicately.
Anne Dexter was lying in her four-posted
mahogany bed, rather white and shaken, but
there was a cheerful note of color in the red rib-
bons with which Cary had pinned each of her
mother's two braids to the upper corners of the
pillow. A little reading-lamp shone on the
table by her side and the fire snapped brightly
306 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
on the hearth. The room was very quiet, when
Van, with an immaculately clean face, came
shyly in alone. Mrs. Dexter held out her un-
injured hand in welcome.
Van had meant to express his deep regret
and sorrow for the accident, but when he saw
her looking like a little girl with hair parted
and braided, so white and still except for her
starry eyes, words deserted him. He abruptly
turned away and hid his face.
"Van, dear boy," said her gentle voice, as
her hand clasped his closely. "Do you know,"
she added after a pause, as she saw that he
could not speak, "years ago I had a baby son.
He died when he was only a year old, but if he
had lived, he would have been your age now.
It's queer, but ever since I've been in Ridgefield,
I have had such an odd feeling about you, —
you of all the boys I've met, — as though you
were the one my baby might have bee*n. Some-
how, I feel sure he would have been like you,
Evan, and I should have gone sliding with him
and had a smash-up."
Still Van did not say one word. There
seemed no need for anything more, and both
were silent until Van recalled that he had been
VAN'S EVENING 307
told to stay but a moment. He gave her one
look and then stumbled out, blinded by tears.
The principal, loitering in the upper hall, after
a glance at him, withdrew to the shadows and
permitted the boy to go down-stairs and out of
the house alone.
"Well, did Van make his peace?' ' he asked,
entering his wife's room when the door had
closed upon their visitor.
His Anne smiled up at him. "Now you men-
tion it, I can't recall that Van spoke to me, but
his silence was truly eloquent. I understood
without any words all he had to say."
A TRYING SATURDAY
Thanks to a telephone message from the But-
terfly House, transmitted before Evan reached
home that evening, he was received without re-
proaches, if without enthusiasm. He looked
pale and disheveled, but mentioned neither
aching head nor sensitive nose, only too glad to
escape everything except the forbearance and
patience characterizing the family atmosphere.
Cutler was the exception ; he completely ignored
Van, though during supper he several times
looked searchingly at him across the table.
Like the fog in the poem, the snow next morn-
ing came "on little cat feet." One moment the
sky above Ridgefield arched gray but clear ; the
next found it dimmed with silent flakes.
They drifted past the six windows of Anne
Dexter 's chamber where her wakeful eyes knew
their first arrival, they clung to the Butterfly on
Cary's side of the house, they entered the wide-
open window of the room at the rectory where
A TRYING SATURDAY 309
the Richards boys slept, tickling Cutler's face
until he rose to lower the sash. Yawning vig-
orously, Cutler went down to the furnace.
When he returned to dress, Van still lay mo-
tionless in the other twin bed.
Under no circumstances would Van ever get
up of his own volition and it was a part of Cut-
ler 's routine to pull his sleepy and protesting
brother out of bed at the proper moment. Cut-
ler was nearly ready to perform this part of his
morning program, was fastening his collar,
when Van amazed him by getting up without
assistance. The next second Cutler received a
shock yet more serious for, reflected in the mir-
ror, he saw his brother start to cross the room,
stop in the middle, waver and collapse into a
limp heap of blue pajamas.
Never a person of many words, Cutler was
one of prompt action. He dropped his collar-
stud, picked up the unconscious Evan, deposited
him again in bed and summoned a horrified
mother, all before a minute passed.
After a while, Van came to himself, to find
Dr. Chapin doing uncomfortable things to his
person, feeling his spine, fingering his head,
asking questions, to which, considering them
310 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
foolish, Van returned equally foolish answers.
Finally the doctor produced a tiny electric torch
and a small mirror, with which he flashed a ray
of light into each of Van's big eyes and looked
searchingiy after the ray. Then he gave a lit-
tle nod and requested Mrs. Richards to bring
him a glass of water.
Van endured the inquisition patiently. He
knew Dr. Chapin from intimate association dur-
ing mumps, measles, chicken-pox, and a light
attack of scarlet fever, when Van, confined to
the third story of the rectory in charge of a
trained nurse, refused to stay in bed and spent
most of the time either conversing through a
megaphone with admiring friends in the street
outside, or in decorating the room with a frieze
of devils cut out of red paper and pasted round
its top. His nurse, by the way, required three
weeks ' rest before undertaking another patient.
To this list of childish complaints was added
an attack of pneumonia, caused by skating on
thin ice, a broken collar-bone, a dislocated
finger, a strained wrist, both ankles sprained at
different times, and a shoulder out of joint.
Like most people who did not have to live
with Van and were not responsible for his con-
A TRYING SATURDAY 311
duct, Dr. Chapin found the boy both interesting
and amusing, and when Mrs. Richards left the
room, he looked scrutinizingly at his patient.
"I can't find any reason to suspect you've
cracked your head," he remarked cheerfully.
"What is wrong with you, sonny?"
"I wish I were dead," replied Van with
"Oh, no, you don't," said the doctor, not at
all disconcerted. "You only think you do.
We can't get rid of life's perplexities so easily
as all that. If we could die every time we are
up against something hard, I'm afraid few of
us would live to grow old. It would be a cow-
ardly way out of our difficulties, when you stop
to think about it. I just telephoned Charles
Dexter," he added apropos of nothing. "His
wife had a very comfortable night. Her head
is much better and her arm doesn't pain her
seriously. She is coming out of it very well,
very well indeed."
As he spoke, Dr. Chapin looked kindly into
Van's white face. A little flush crossed it and
the big black eyes closed.
"You aren't in pain, are you, my boy?" he
3 i2 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
"No," said Van quietly, "only my head
aches when I move and I feel rather sick. I
don't know what made me flop on the floor. I
didn't sleep very well," he added.
"I thought that was about it," said the
doctor. "You must remember that you were
shaken up yourself, as well as worried because
you happened to be steering when an accident
happened that might have occurred to any one.
Now, won't you try to sleep and not worry any
"I'll try," agreed Van, "but I wish Amy
needn't come in here. She, — she is so virtuous
that I shall have to slam things if she does."
Dr. Chapin smiled as he took his departure.
"I can't find that anything much is wrong,"
he said to Van's parents. "It is just the shock,
both mental and physical. Keep him in bed if
he will stay, and better not let him see many
people, perhaps not even Amy."
Over in the Butterfly House the family were
early astir, Lizzie flying about her kitchen, pre-
pared to rise to any emergency, to accomplish
three times as much as usual should occasion de-
mand. Cary in her blue corduroy kimono crept
softly to her mother's door, was admitted for a
A TRYING SATURDAY 313
kiss, and returning to her own room, met Can-
"Can I do anything for Aunt Anne?" Can-
dace asked anxiously, encouraged by Cary's
quiet answer to her first query about the pa-
tient 's night.
"No," said Cary. "I'll do anything Daddy
doesn't. I wish you'd look out for Christine."
"Of course I will," Candace hastened to
assure her. "Cary," she added hesitatingly,
"won't you forgive me now for that honey? It
was all an accident and I Ve felt so badly about
"Oh, — the honey," remarked Cary, looking
blankly at Candace, as though she really
couldn't turn her mind so far into the past.
"I don't care about that. I don't care about
anything now, only I want to wait on Mother
myself. You see the people who come and look
She went into her room, leaving Candace to
wonder whether Cary, who no longer cared
about the honey, — indeed, didn't seem to remem-
ber it, — had also forgotten the "tanks."
Dr. Chapin's visit, her mother's breakfast
and toilet occupied Cary for most of the morn-
314 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
ing. About eleven, Mr. Dexter went out to keep
a business engagement, and Mrs. Dexter in-
quired for the other girls.
"Candace, I haven't seen her," she said.
"And my little Chrissy, where is she?"
"I guess one has been keeping the other
busy," replied Cary. " Ought you not to rest,
"Let me see them first. Candace 's hands
must be full, else she would surely have come
in before this."
"I told her how you were," said Cary, and
she had no choice but to summon Candace, who
came gladly, bringing little Christine with her.
"I was missing my other girls," said Mrs.
Dexter, returning Candace 's kiss. "Careful,
Chrissy, you must hug Mother very, very
gently. ' '
"Mammy's hair is unbuttoned," announced
Christine, touching with delighted fingers the
long braids again tied to the pillow corners.
"Very much so," laughed her mother. "Sit
down, Candace dear, and tell me how things
are going with you. I know Cary must want
to get away for a few minutes, though I really
don 't need any one with me all the time. I shall
A TRYING SATURDAY 315
get up to-morrow, — I could to-day, so far as I
feel, though Dr. Chapin insists on my staying
here. What is the outside news? Have you
seen Van ? ' 9
"Van is sick," said Candace. "Amy tele-
phoned that they don't think it is serious, be-
cause Mrs. Eichards found a package when she
was straightening his room, with a circular
bath-spray he brought home. She had never
seen one like it and when she asked Van what it
was, he told her it was his new halo, so they
think he'll be all right by to-morrow."
"I'm glad Van feels like joking again," said
Mrs. Dexter, smiling. "If Chrissy is really go-
ing to play with that box of buttons, do you want
to read aloud, Candace?"
"Oh, I'd love to, Aunt Anne," exclaimed Can-
dace, reaching for the volume indicated.
Mrs. Dexter lay quietly, listening to Can-
dace's pleasant voice with its expressive in-
tonations. Before long her eyelids drooped.
Candace read more and more softly, till she
thought it safe to stop. Then with a whispered
caution to Chrissy, she led her from the room.
Just at the door she met Cary, looking perfectly
316 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
"I was coming for you," she said. "Is
Mother asleep? Oh, what a horrible day this
is ! The tank has run over. ' '
"The tank?" queried Candace, her mind re-
turning to the current events class of the pre-
' < Oh, in the attic ! ' ' said Cary fretfully. ' ' It
has to be filled every other day. Lizzie turned
the water on as usual with that wrench over the
kitchen sink — you must have seen it. Just as
I came out of Mother's room, she told me it was
on and that she was going over street to give
some orders and for me to shut it off in ten min-
utes. I forgot. If I'd stayed with Mother,
Lizzie would have told you, and you'd remem-
ber," Cary ended rather vindictively.
"But what has happened?" asked Candace,
still at sea.
For answer, Cary impatiently indicated the
side hall where a flood was pouring down the
"Have you turned off the water?" demanded
Candace, galvanized into action. "Then we
must wipe it up."
This sounded a simple proposition and the
A TRYING SATURDAY 317
two started bravely to mop the deluge, finding
to their horror, the floor of Christine's room
inundated and the bathroom ceiling soaked like
a sponge. Try as they might, they could not
seem to keep up with the water, seeping through
the thoroughly soaked floor.
"I wish Lizzie would come," said Candace
after half an hour's hard work made little
impression on the disaster. Chrissy was in
Cary's room, quiet over her sister's trinket-
"She'll be horrid cross when she does come,"
sighed Cary. "She'll say it is my fault."
But Lizzie, like many sharp-tongued people,
was sometimes unexpectedly charitable. When
she arrived, she surveyed the two girls, both
desperately working, and shook her head.
"What a mess!" was her only comment.
"Cary, you're as wet as sop. Give me that
cloth, and you go straight and get into dry
clothes. It's possible to wipe up water without
wading into it up to your neck. Candace isn't
half-drowned. Candace, you fetch the tack-
lifter. All the matting here in Chrissy 's room
must come up. Now, don't either of you say
ji8 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
one word of this to Miss Anne. I won't have
her worried. What possessed the old tank to
run over to-day, of all days?"
By luncheon, the flood was stayed and merely
the discolored bathroom ceiling and Chrissy's
bare floor remained to tell the tale. Mrs. Dex-
ter, waking from a refreshing nap, noticed only
that Cary, who brought her tray, had changed
to an afternoon dress. Her luncheon showed
no trace of a disorganized household, and no
one told her of the hominy burned black while
Lizzie helped the girls, the wreck of one care-
fully arranged tray, dropped by poor Cary, the
minor tragedies of groceries that did not come
and a telephone that rang steadily. All that
afternoon, Candace vibrated between door and
receiver, until at last, utterly tired out, she
dropped asleep beside Chrissy's crib, moved
into her room, lest any dampness remain in the
other. The one bright spot in that terrible day
passed unnoticed by either girl, — the fact that
ever since the tank ran over, they had been
pleasant to each other.
CARY GOES SHARES
Though she spent but one entire day in bed,
for the next three weeks, Mrs. Dexter was de-
pendent upon the services of her daughter, for
naturally with her left arm in a sling, she could
not arrange her hair nor dress without assist-
Very quickly the family in the Butterfly
House settled into a definite routine. Cary
dressed and went down to arrange her mother's
tray; Candace dressed Chrissy. After break-
fast Cary helped her mother, while Candace put
the house in order. Then they hurried off to
school, and Lizzie kept an eye on both Chrissy
and Mrs. Dexter.
"Why don't you and Candace change occu-
pations!" Cary's mother asked her one evening.
"Don't you want the fun of tending Chrissy
sometimes? Candace would give me the little
help I need now. ' '
320 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
" Don't you want me to help you?" Cary
asked playfully, as she brushed her mother's
hair before the open fire.
"Of course, I want you, dearie. I only
thought you might like a change and that Can-
dace also would be pleased. She seems so
pathetically anxious to wait on me. She has
been a real help to us, hasn't she?"
Cary suddenly laid aside the brush, knelt on
the rug and clasped her mother tightly.
"Mammy," she whispered after a pause, "I
know Candace is lovely to look at, and she can
do ever so many things I can't, and she manages
Chrissy much better than I do, but, Mammy,
you are mine, you know. I can go halves in you
with Christine, but not with Candace."
1 ' Cary, you ridiculous child ! Look at me this
instant. Do you mean to say you are absurd
enough to be jealous?"
"Absurd or not, I can't stand it if you love
her too much."
"Oh, Cary," said her mother, laughing. "I
thought you had more sense. What a silly lit-
Cary's embrace tightened as Mrs. Dexter 's
cheek rested on the top of her head.
CARY GOES SHARES 321
"I do love Candace," said her mother gently.
"I think I must love any young thing for whom
I was in any way responsible, and Candace is
very lovable, but as for usurping your place, —
why, Cary, only when you have a child of your
own, will you know how impossible that is. No-
body can ever be to me what you and Chrissy
are. Never think that again. Daddy and I are
interested in Candace and have grown to love
her, but beautiful and charming as she is, she
isn't our Cary. ,,
' i Mammy, I have been horrid to Candace,"
confessed Cary, a little later, lifting a teary
face upon which happiness now shone. "The
very day your arm was broken, I played a mean
trick upon her. Listen to what I did and then
see whether you can keep on loving me."
" Candace was certainly very quick-witted to
change to another topic on such short notice,"
said Mrs. Dexter when she had heard the tale.
"Have you made it up with her, Cary dear?"
"We haven't had time to think of our dis-
agreements," Cary admitted. "I don't be-
lieve she has thought of it again any more than
I did, till now, when I was realizing what a hor-
rid person I am to be your daughter. No, you
322 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
needn't say it, Mammy, I won't be such a little
idiot again, and I'll let Candace have her share
Candace surely received a surprise that eve-
ning when Cary came from seeing her mother
into bed. "I've decided it is time for you to
resume learning to frivol," she announced.
"So, to-morrow, I'll dress Chrissy and you may
take up Mother's tray. And, Candace, I'm ter-
ribly sorry and ashamed about those tanks."
"For mercy's sake, Cary, it isn't running, is
it?" exclaimed Candace, in dismay.
Cary giggled in spite of herself. "I didn't
say tank, but the plural, ' ' she went on : " Your
current events topic. It was hateful, but, oh, —
everything went wrong with me! I can't be-
gin to tell you about it, but you don't care now,
"No," said Candace, somewhat puzzled, for
Cary had evidently been crying and yet seemed
in gay spirits.
"Just hit me with a poker the next time I'm
horrid, will you? Because it won't be Anne
Dexter 's daughter who's doing it, but a change-
ling in her place," was Cary's enigmatic re-
quest, but she put her arms around Candace 's
CARY GOES SHARES 323
neck and kissed her, a token of affection that
brought tears to the other girl's eyes.
The second victim of the coasting accident
soon recovered both physical and mental bal-
ance. Van was not at school the first Monday,
but on Tuesday appeared at the assigned desk
in the principal's office in such a state of meek-
ness that Mr. Dexter with difficulty concealed
his amusement. After anxious inquiries for
Mrs. Dexter, Van obliterated his personality for
the remainder of the morning.
"Van," said the principal at the close of
school, "I believe you were to sit in the office
until such time as I should forget your pres-
ence. I have done so literally to-day, so I sup-
pose the penalty expires automatically. I wish
I could be sure that the reform were to be
"I guess it will last longer than you think,"
Van answered very quietly.
Mr. Dexter gave him a keen glance. "I'll
take your word for it," he replied as briefly, and
for the next month derived much entertainment
from the outspoken comments of his staff of
teachers, all at a loss to account for the sudden
goodness of Evan Eichards.
324 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
At the end of three weeks the splints came off
the injured arm, but some time passed before
Mrs. Dexter regained its full use. Cary was
as good as her promise, she showed no further
disposition to prevent Candace from being with
the invalid, and only dropped furtive kisses on
her mother 's head or hands in passing, that in-
dicated deep feeling. Candace accepted with
joy Cary's resumed friendship, indeed, never
suspected that the estrangement had been from
jealousy instead of resentment over an unfor-
tunate accident. Candace *s school work suf-
fered during those busy weeks, bringing her
and Cary more nearly on a level. That she
could accept a lowered mark with equanimity,
knowing it had fallen because of higher duties,
in itself indicated that Candace was less in
danger of becoming Cary's " horrid high-
brow. ' y
"I saw such a funny thing, Mammy," said
Cary, coming in one afternoon, dressed to go
out. "When I came from school, I looked up
Chestnut Street as I crossed. You know how
hilly it is, and you know, or rather you don't,
being too precious and easily breakable to be
CARY GOES SHARES 325
allowed out, how very slippery everything is
"I looked up the street and in the center,
sitting right down, fat Mrs. Fenway was coast-
ing down the hill, not on a sled, understand,
but just flat on the street. About three feet to
one side of her, and exactly keeping pace, slid
Mrs. Fenway 's market-basket, out of which
stuck several parcels, including a package of
Post Toasties. Some distance behind Mrs. F.
sprinted two brave men, madly trying to over-
take her and the basket. One after the other,
each sat down and joined the procession. I,
at the foot of the hill, remained rooted to the
spot. As Mrs. Fenway progressed nearer me,
her smile grew wider and mine widened to cor-
respond. Finally she came to a gentle stop a
few feet away. I was about to help her up, but
she said I'd better not because if she fell again
and landed on me, I'd be merely a pressed
flower! Consider, Mammy, your lovely sylph-
like daughter as a pressed flower !
"One of the men overtook the basket and
picked it and himself up, but the other skewed
into the gutter part-way down the hill and
326 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
abandoned the chase. It was funny, for Mrs.
Fenway must weigh over two hundred. Van
says she's so fat that you can't get within
two pews of her at church! She laughed her-
self, for she couldn't help knowing how very
queer she and the basket must look."
"Cary, I must make a sketch of that coast,"
laughed her amused mother. "Are you going
down to the village?"
"Yes, with Candace. She wants to do an
errand and I have one too, so we are going to-
gether," Cary replied, slipping the ring of her
muff over her wrist. "I always take my lynx
on a leash for fear it will escape. Shall Chrissy
"I think it's hard walking for her and she
was out a long time this morning. Have a good
time, both of you."
As the two girls started, Mrs. Dexter looked
after them affectionately. Both had improved
from the living with each other. Candace was
much less shy and awkward, Cary, less pug-
nacious and quite inclined now to accept Can-
dace on a sisterly basis. They went down the
walk chatting very amiably.
At the rectory, where they stopped to see if
CARY GOES SHARES 327
Amy would come with them, they found her
busy over a delayed essay which must without
fail be handed in the next day.
"I chose from the list they gave us, ' Why We
Are at War, ' ' ' sighed Amy, i ' and I went to the
library, expecting to get a nice book about it,
but all Miss Gilbert would give me was Presi-
dent Wilson's address to Congress, and it is
very difficult. And Van is so trying. He's
suddenly taken to behaving properly at school,
but he has dreadful relapses at home. He made
a little electric motor that worked quite nicely
and persuaded Delia to let him attach it to the
egg-beater. It worked, — it worked very well,
but during the process the eggs absolutely van-
ished. Nobody understands what happened to
them, but Van thinks so much air was pumped
in that they evaporated. He wanted to try beat-
ing butter and milk together, but Mother would
not let him. It might have worked, or the whole
thing might have turned into cheese, but Mother
said both were too expensive to waste. So then
he put it on the sewing-machine, but started the
treadle too soon and the machine needle went
clear through his finger. Mother and I are both
328 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
Candace and Cary were laughing as they
went their way. Their errands took them past
the shopping district and down a steep hill lead-
ing to the lower village. At the top of this in-
cline stood a very heavy auto-truck, piled high
with machinery. The driver had gone into the
1 i What an enormous load," Cary observed
as they passed.
" Isn't it?" agreed Candace. "Is Chrissy to
have a party for her birthday next week!
Aunt Anne spoke of it before her accident and
since then it has been crowded out."
"We'll plan something," replied Cary.
"Last year when she was three, Mother invited
six children and their mothers and we had a
beautiful time. But after everybody had gone,
we found the birthday cake in the pantry.
Mammy forgot all about it and so did I! She
thought she was a very unnatural parent to
make a party for her child and forget the most
important thing. Good gracious, Candace,
what is happening!"
From behind came shouts of alarm or warn-
ing or both. The girls turned to see the big
auto-truck, no one at the wheel, sliding down
CARY GOES SHARES 329
the hill and gaining momentum each second.
The brakes, set when the driver left it, had
broken or worked loose ; the track once started
down that slippery slope was a terrible menace.
Farther down the hill, people on the sidewalk
made abrupt dashes for shelter at either side,
warned by the frenzied shouting. Fortunately
the road was clear of vehicles, but half-way up,
right in the middle of the street were two tiny
children from the French-Canadian settlement,
dragging a sled behind them.
Stiff with horror, Cary shrank back against
the wall, but Candace did not hesitate. Disre-
garding the frightful object careering down the
hill, she rushed for the children, seizing one with
either hand and dragging them toward safety.
But the little ones, jerked off their feet by her
sudden onslaught, were a dead weight. Stop-
ping where she stood, Candace deliberately
lifted first one and then the other, sliding them
across to the sidewalk.
At that moment the truck blotted her from
the sight of the terrified Cary. She heard the
crunch as the sled, left in the street, crumpled
like a match under the powerful wheels. The
truck passed, to continue its mad career until
330 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
it crashed through a stone wall and dropped
into the river, but Cary did not see what became
of it. On the other side of the street, where
she had been tossed by the monster, lay Can-
dace. Beyond her, safe on the sidewalk, clutch-
ing each other and screaming with fright, stood
the two little children.
A MYSTERIOUS STRANGER
Long ages afterwards, Candace came back
from a world where it seemed that she had been
forever, a dim, gray world with zigzag flashes
of lightning playing on a distant horizon in a
dreadful monotony of pain.
Gradually the mist grew lighter, the flashes
fainter, and very far away, low voices sounded
murmuring words of love. Consciousness came
in sickening waves, and Candace finally opened
weary eyes upon her own room in the Butter-
fly House, with Aunt Anne sitting by her side,
Dr. Chapin and a white-capped nurse bending
over her, and at the foot of the bed, looking ter-
ribly serious, Uncle Charles.
"What has happened ?" Candace asked, won-
dering why all the faces looked so anxious, save
Aunt Anne's, which wore a shaky smile. Then
she realized that her head, shoulder and chest
were all bandaged. Next came full recollection.
332 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
"The children, ' ' she asked, "were they
"No, Candace," said Dr. Chapin gently.
"You saved them both."
"And Cary?" she added, after a second.
"Perfectly all right," replied Aunt Anne,
kissing her. "Go to sleep, dear, and don't try
"But what has happened to me?" Candace
"Don't try to move, dearie," said the nurse.
* ' The truck knocked you to one side and banged
you up a little, but we are going to make you
right very soon. Now, drink this."
Candace obeyed. Then, with one hand
clasped in Aunt Anne's she again drifted into
oblivion, this time merciful and dreamless.
Down in the living-room, Cary was clinging to
Janet and crying desperately as they waited
for word from above. Not until Candace be-
came conscious could they be certain how badly
she was hurt.
Fortunately the suspense was not long.
Soon both Dr. Chapin and Mr. Dexter came
down to the anxious girls with a cheering re-
port. Candace had not been run over, only
A MYSTERIOUS STRANGER 333
tossed aside by a glancing blow as the truck
careered past; her head and shoulder bruised,
three ribs broken, but no irreparable injury.
"Talk of heroism !" said Dr. Chapin, blow-
ing his nose. "In these days our girls as well
as our boys do brave deeds.' '
" Father,' ' said Janet, taking him by the
hand and drawing him into the hall, "I think
I can be of use here for a little. Cary will have
to move out of her room so Candace's nurse
can be next door, and I will help her."
"Cary must go to bed herself," said Dr.
Chapin. "She has had a serious shock and
fright. Get me a glass from the dining-room,
Janet, and I'll leave something for you to give
her after you get her settled in bed."
Back in the living-room, Cary had seized her
father and was sobbing hysterically on his
"Daddy, I am a coward, the biggest coward
on earth! I stood there bes'ide Candace and I
saw the truck coming and the children, and I
never moved. It never occurred to me to try
to save them. If I thought at all it was that
they were only little French-Canadians from
the lower village. The only idea I had was to
334 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
get out of the way myself. Oh, I am so wicked
and such a coward !"
"Listen, little girl," said Mr. Dexter tenderly,
smoothing the disheveled head that rested on
his shoulder. "There are different kinds of
heroism. And the kind that saves life in a
sudden emergency is almost always an impulse,
good and noble, but still an impulse. When
Candace is able to talk, I think you will find that
she didn't think what she was to do, — she sim-
ply did it, — moved by a force that swept every-
thing before it."
"That makes me worse,' ' sobbed his daugh-
ter. "I did think and it was only of myself.
I didn't care about the children."
"You may be right in thinking that you do
not respond to an outside stimulus, as we call
it, so quickly and instinctively as Candace, but
that does not prove you incapable of heroism.
There are different kinds, though this is the
one that the world most readily recognizes.
Just every-day life calls for real heroism. You
have been courageous in that way all the time
that Mother has been laid up."
Her father's words gradually brought com-
fort to Cary. When Janet returned she was
A MYSTERIOUS STRANGER 335
calmer, and after one look at Candace, comfort-
ably asleep, she made no objection to going to
bed herself in the southeast room to which Janet
transferred her possessions. Janet stayed with
her till into the evening, and later, waking from
a troubled dream, Cary suddenly realized that
her father sat reading by a shaded lamp in her
room, and somehow his very presence instantly
banished the sense of horror with which she had
For several days Candace was seriously ill,
too ill to know how her plucky act had thrilled
Eidgefield, unable even to see the flowers that
came, or know of the many inquiries made for
her at the Butterfly House. But in a short time,
she began to gain, and her convalescence was
so rapid that Amy and Janet, as well as Cary,
were admitted as daily visitors.
Naturally the Ridgefield weekly paper made
the most of the runawav truck and the rescued
children, an item copied into a Burlington daily,
which pictured the Lefevre twins as large as
life and twice as handsome, Jean Baptiste at-
tired in a Lord Fauntleroy suit, Rose Marie in
a plush coat and bonnet. The reporter who se-
cured these triumphs of the photographer's
336 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
art tried in vain to obtain a picture of Candace.
Papers as far away as Boston and New York
gave a paragraph to the event, and some in-
formation concerning Candace and her native
town so astonishing in its inaccuracy that mod-
est Candace would never have recognized her-
self as the central figure.
One day the morning train brought a stranger
to Kidgefield, a gentlemanly, middle-aged per-
son, whose business in the place remained a
mystery till the drug-store clerk announced that
he was a reporter for a high-toned New York
weekly. This surmise seemed proved correct,
for, whatever use he intended to make of the
material gathered, he showed great interest in
finding out exactly what happened on the day
the truck plunged down the hill.
He interviewed at least ten persons who had
been witnesses of the affair ; spent half an hour
in the two-roomed cabin occupied by the Le-
fevres, listening patiently to eulogies of the
miraculously rescued twins ; surveyed the truck
where it yet lay, a mass of ruins showing above
the river ice ; he called on the Keverend Henry
Richards. Then he appeared in Dr. Chapin's
A MYSTERIOUS STRANGER 337
waiting-room, to be shown into the office on ar-
rival of his rightful turn.
Next, he was reported at the Butterfly House,
and it was fortunate, all Eidgefield agreed, that
Candace was now living there, for a picture of
the butterfly so familiar to all would lend an
unusual touch to that sketch for which he so
earnestly sought material. There were even
wagers as to whether he would gain admittance,
for it was known that Lizzie shut the door in
the face of a correspondent from a Montpelier
paper, and that Mr. Dexter refused to see him
when he audaciously invaded the High School.
But after a brief parley, the front door of the
Butterfly House opened to this stranger; not
only did he gain admittance, but was not seen to
leave till an hour passed.
His final act before disappearing from Eidge-
field forever was to hire a horse and sleigh and
drive up to the Halliday cottage on Thorn, pre-
sumably to obtain a photograph of Candace 's
birthplace. Half a dozen men and boys offered
to act as coachman, but he informed the livery
keeper that he wished to go alone. This did not
prevent him from picking up Van Richards on
338 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
the way, leaving the town to wonder in what
supernatural manner Van had managed to make
his acquaintance. Little wonder that when the
stranger finally took himself and his notebook
away on the evening train, concerted effort was
made to induce Van to divulge for what paper
or periodical he was a reporter. But as ever,
Van was annoyingly unexpected.
6 'Keporter, nothing !" he announced flip-
pantly to the questioning audience in the corner
drug-store. "Do you think Mr. Dexter would
waste his time on a pencil-pusher, much less let
him talk with Cary?"
"But what was his business V 9 asked the
druggist, giving Van the bottle of listerine he
had been sent for. ' ' What was he poking round
town for, asking a thousand questions about the
truck and how it started and all?"
"H. 0. K.," replied Van with an exaspera-
ting shrug of his shoulders, "which is, being
interpreted, Heaven only knows! Except my-
self," he added provokingly as he left the store,
"and I swore that I wouldn't tell."
COUSIN ANTHONY COMES
Candace, rather thin, her lovely coloring
somewhat faded, and with a head covered by
short chestnut ringlets, for her glorious hair
had been cut during that first week after her
accident, chanced to be sitting on the wide porch
of the Butterfly House the day that Cousin An-
Spring, hovering fitfully in the neighborhood
of Ridgefield, was waking crocuses and daffo-
dils from their winter sleep, bringing constant
surprises to the Dexter family, none of whom
knew the garden nor where things might natu-
rally be expected to pop up. That very morn-
ing, Candace exclaimed over a host of gay little
yellow blossoms, arriving overnight amid the
grass of the lawn, and Cary came running in
with a handful of heavenly blue scilla, found in
a sheltered spot below the library bay window.
Now, she and Chrissy were making the most of
340 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
this sunny Saturday morning, raking away pro-
tecting leaves and disclosing hidden treasure
Candace saw the stranger pause before the
house, but thought nothing of it, since even the
passing inhabitants of Ridgefield usually lifted
their eyes to the Butterfly. One seeing it for
the first time would naturally delay to study it
closely. But after surveying the fagade of the
house, the gentleman ran a carefully apprais-
ing eye over the grounds, then opened the gate
and came slowly up the walk. As he approached
the porch, he lifted his hat.
"I wonder if this is my cousin Cary?" he
asked with a pleasant smile.
"I'm Candace Halliday," was the reply.
"That is Cary with the rake."
The visitor turned in the direction indicated.
Cary straightened up, her hands full of snow-
"You don't know me, I fancy," the stranger
went on. "Did you ever hear of Anthony
"Oh, yes," said Cary cordially. "Indeed, I
have, Cousin Anthony. Daddy often speaks of
you. Why, the Butterfly House belongs to you.
COUSIN ANTHONY COMES 341
I can't shake hands because I've been grubbing
in the border here/' she went on. "Mother and
Daddy went to Burlington for the day, but they
will be so glad to see you. Candace is my
adopted sister, and this is little Christine."
Candace shook hands and Chrissy gave him
a bewitching smile. Cousin Anthony was about
Mr. Dexter's age, with graying hair, a keen,
pleasant face, and a prosperous look.
"Daddy will want you to come to us," Cary
said after they had chatted a few minutes, dur-
ing which she promptly decided that she liked
Cousin Anthony. "They won't be home till
late, so please telephone for your bag to be sent
over and have luncheon with Candace and me.
They won't like it at all if I let you go to the
hotel, and indeed, you won't like it either. It's
not a place one would choose to stay."
Anthony Davenport, who had once known
Charles Dexter intimately, and whose boyish
affection had lasted through years of separa-
tion, did not hesitate to accept the invitation of
his daughter. He himself returned to the sta-
tion for his bag, thus giving Cary time to warn
Lizzie of the visitor and to see that the south-
east guest-room was in immaculate order.
342 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
"I'm getting to be as good a housekeeper as
you," she declared to Candace. "No, you are
not going to dust. You're growing pale, and
if you don't sit down and rest, I shall put you
into bed. Miss Kogers told me when she went
that I was to be very strict with you, Candace
Halliday. Here, you may arrange these
flowers. No, indeed, I'm not going to waste
them on Cousin Anthony till I decide whether
he is worthy of having flowers in his room.
Half are for you and half for our precious
Mammy. ' '
At luncheon, Cousin Anthony made himself
so agreeable that he and the girls were on terms
of intimacy long before it ended. Such strides
did their acquaintance make that later, when
Candace and Chrissy both went up for their
afternoon rest, he and Cary found themselves
discussing the Butterfly House and Aunt
Nancy's will, subjects that Anthony himself
would never have introduced, had not Cary, by
chance references, betrayed that she knew all
about both. After that, it was only natural
that they should arrive by easy stages at the
"Do you know," he said when this point was
COUSIN ANTHONY COMES 343
reached. "I am visiting Kidgefield partly to
see if I can't at last come to some definite ar-
rangement with Charles about that legacy. I
had in mind to examine the secretary myself.
I hope that to-morrow he will let me look at
"Do it now if you wish," said Cary. "I
know Daddy won't object, for he lets me. I
have spent three rainy afternoons over it, but it
is the most disappointing thing. Come into the
study if you like and we will go through it again.
I haven't opened it since Christmas."
Cousin Anthony agreed and he and Cary in-
spected the secretary with the most minute care.
It divulged nothing that Cary had not seen be-
fore except half a postage-stamp stuck in a
"I cannot understand," said Anthony at
length. "That will was the most extraordi-
nary document, and so unjust to Charles. Had
there been any trouble between him and Aunt
Nancy, one could have explained it, but she was
extremely fond of him. Why he, who lived in
the Butterfly House most of his life, and loved
every inch of it, should be cut off with an old
desk, and I, who never saw the place, should
344 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
have it thrust on me, seems inexplicable. Your
father is, — well, Cary, perhaps you may have
noticed this trait at times, — shall we call it re-
markably firm? I wanted him to have the
place; I told him to go ahead and contest the
will and I would not oppose it, but, hurt as he
was, love and respect for Aunt Nancy held him
back. Well, there's one thing sure," Cousin
Anthony ended, rubbing his hair the wrong way
as he paced up and down the study, "Charles
cannot prevent having the Butterfly House left
to him in my will ! I told him as much and he
had the impudence to tell me that I couldn't
prevent his dying first if he chose to. I got
even with him though; I told him I'd fix it so
it would be saddled on his wife or any child he
left. What did Aunt Nancy mean? What did
she intend to do that she didn't? And why
didn 't she do it, whatever it was ?
"And I don't suppose," he went on, continu-
ing his uneasy tramp, ' i that your father is any
more reasonable now than at any other time
when I've tried to arrange things. But now
that I'm going to France — "
"Oh, are you?" exclaimed Cary excitedly.
"Not to fight, child, they won't have me.
COUSIN ANTHONY COMES 345
Past the age of usefulness, short-sighted, get-
ting bald, no good to them that way, when it's
a pity an old bachelor like me can't take the
place of some young chap with a wife and ba-
bies. No, it's only to help with the ambulance
work. Three or four young fellows I'm inter-
ested in, physically disqualified, too, — just go-
ing to sort of dry-nurse them. All I'm good
So Anthony jerkily designated his position as
guardian angel of the entire ambulance unit
he had equipped and was maintaining from his
own pocket. Charles Dexter, who knew his
cousin, would have read between the lines and
guessed this, but Cary did not understand what
his depreciatory words really meant. That he
was going to the front was all she grasped.
"Oh, if you have a chance, do look up Arthur
Chapin," she exclaimed. Cousin Anthony im-
mediately produced a note-book already con-
taining a number of names.
"Arthur Chapin, first lieutenant, aviation
section, signal corps; Dr. Chapin, f ather ; Janet,
sister," he noted. "Anson Brooks, naval en-
sign, wife Katherine. Indeed, if I come across
either, I'll make myself known. Well, I'd start
346 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
feeling happier, if your father would hear rea-
son about the Butterfly House. Confound that
secretary ! I expect even yet the key to the
whole mystery is under our very noses, if we
only had wit to see it.' ,
Gary, elbows leaning on the ledge of the old
desk, looked wistfully into its disappointing
" 'Our eyes are holden,' " quoted Anthony,
stopping in his promenade. "Some explana-
tion exists somewhere, and some day the right
person will come along and see it. It doesn't
seem given to either you or me, Gary."
As he spoke, his glance fell on the blotter upon
which Gary's elbows idly rested. Suddenly ad-
justing his glasses, he bent over it intently.
Following the direction of his eyes, Gary saw
that he was studying the faint ink-marks on the
surface. One corner contained a verv decided
"Cary, is that a fresh bit of blotting-paper?"
he inquired in a tone of interest.
"No, Gousin Anthony, I'm sure it isn't, be-
cause the secretary hasn't been used since we
came. Daddy brought his own desk, you see,
COUSIN ANTHONY COMES 347
and this has been opened only when I had a fit
of hunting through it."
"Then the blotter must date from the days
of Aunt Nancy," remarked Anthony. "Just
detach it from its moorings and bring it into the
The interested and mystified Cary did so.
Taking the blotter from her, Cousin Anthony
held it before the big mirror over the library
mantel. The writing in the corner was now
quite legible, but proved only the closing phrase
of some letter. "Very truly yours, Nancy Dex-
Further careful scrutiny revealed nothing
else even intelligible upon either side of the
blotter and with a comic gesture of despair,
Anthony threw it upon the floor to resume his
"What did she mean?" he exclaimed in a kind
of exasperated howl. "Where is the letter of
explanation that she meant to leave for Charles,
if not the actual deed itself?"
"A deed!" queried Cary.
"Yes," said Anthony, stopping exactly in
front of her. "You see, except for those be-
348 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
quests, everything came to me. Filed carefully
in Aunt Nancy's safe-deposit box were the
deeds to the Butterfly House, of course turned
over to me. Now I am as sure as I am of any-
thing in this uncertain world, that Aunt Nancy
executed another deed, a transfer, turning the
property over to Charles. Where is it?
i ' I don 't know how familiar you are with busi-
ness/ ' he went on, "but in appointed towns in
every county or district, deals in real estate are
recorded, entered on official files, which any one
may consult. So sure was I that the transfer
must exist, that I had the records at Burlington
gone over, and a slow and exasperating job it
was! That was some fifteen years ago, when
I was in a tearing hurry to get hold of definite
evidence to convince Charles. You see, to com-
plicate matters still further, the old lawyer who
made Aunt Nancy's will and did her business,
died before her, so there was no one left who
knew anything about what she meant to do.
Very likely he would have known of the exist-
ence of the transfer deed, but there he was, dead
and buried, gone to his reward, or the opposite,
for I don't think he should have let her make
such a will.
COUSIN ANTHONY COMES 349
1 i They dragged along at Burlington, pretend-
ing to search those records, and every time I
wrote, blowing them up, they sent me a letter as
long as the Epistle to the Galatians, trying to
calm me, and explaining why they couldn't get
on any faster. Eed tape, all of it. But the
long and short of it was that no record of such
a transfer had ever been made. So I was
dished. You see, even though we couldn't find
the deed, if I could show a record of it, its ex-
istence would be proved and Charles would quit
being a balky mule. Where's that ridiculous
doll Aunt Nancy bequeathed your mother?" he
ended with a sudden sort of bark that made his
startled listener jump.
"Up in the attic," replied Cary. "We were
going to bring it down for Chrissy, but Mother
decided that she didn't want to see it around.
Would you like to look at it?"
"I would," was the emphatic answer.
"That is, if it isn't too much trouble. Let me
help you get it."
Together they visited the dark attic and
brought down both trunk and doll.
"Now let's see if there was anv reason for
that idiotic bequest," said Cousin Anthony, ad-
35o AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
justing his glasses, which were being continually
dislodged by his impulsive movements, and
glaring fiercely at the inoffensive Judith.
"Take off her clothes, will you, Caryl"
Cary undressed the doll, and Cousin Anthony
began to poke and punch all parts of Judy's
long-suffering anatomy, paying particular at-
tention to her chest and round head, shaped like
"When was this charming specimen last cov-
ered?" he asked.
"Not since Great-aunt Nancy herself did it
for me," said Cary, greatly interested in his
performances. "And I never had it after all."
"What!" exclaimed Anthony with another
sudden bark. "Cary, can you sew?" he de-
"After a fashion. It depends upon what you
want done. If it is anything fussy, you'd bet-
ter wait till Candace comes down."
"Can you sew up that doll's head after I've
ripped it open?" Anthony gruffly specified.
"Why!" gasped Cary. "You don't think—?
Let me get the scissors."
By examination of the stitches it was easy
enough to find the place where the final opening
.COUSIN ANTHONY COMES 351
had been closed, and Cary's excited fingers soon
ripped the seam and pulled out the cotton bat-
ting with which the doll was stuffed. To their
great disappointment, nothing else appeared.
"Aunt Nancy was no fool, though her sense
of humor was queer/ ' growled Anthony, "and
unless she was in her dotage she wouldn't sew
up an important paper in a rag doll. Probably
she did re-cover it just for you. I'm sorry I've
made all that trouble."
* * Oh, anything is worth trying, ' ' sighed Cary,
restoring the cotton to its place and plumping
into shape Judy's pathetically flat person. "I
can sew it up again in a few minutes."
Cary threaded a needle, and Anthony, echo-
ing her sigh, took up the doll's discarded dress,
pulling it idly through a half -closed hand.
"Do dolls ever have pockets?" he abruptly
demanded, shaking out the full skirt. "I cer-
tainly feel something that crackles like paper."
"Let me see," said Cary, taking the dress and
exploring its folds. "Yes, it has a pocket and
there is a folded bit of paper in it."
Anthony impolitely snatched it from her.
"Neither sealed nor addressed," he exclaimed.
"We have a right then to look at it."
352 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
The little note was only a quarter- sheet of
writing paper, folded to fit the tiny pocket.
"I am wondering whether Cary's baby fingers
will discover this first, or yours, my dear Anne,
for the little frock will soon need washing.
Charles has doubtless received the letter I left
with my lawyer to be given him after my death
and explaining the whereabouts of the fourth
secret drawer. That you may spend in the
Butterfly House the happiest days of a life that
promises to be one of joy for you both is the
sincerest wish of your old Aunt Nancy.' '
Having read, the two looked at each other.
"A fourth drawer !" gasped Cary. "Oh, Cou-
sin Anthony !"
i 'That lawyer ! ' ' exclaimed Anthony. ' i Aunt
Nancy was ill when he died ; she never knew —
That explains everything !' '
He made two steps into the study and brought
up before the old secretary, an expression of
positively fierce determination on his face.
"Now, then!" he exclaimed. "Out with it,
you senseless piece of furniture. This time we
mean business. The drawer can't be in the up-
per part, Cary; there isn't a possible spot for
He removed one heavy, large drawer after
another, to poke and punch the cavity behind
COUSIN ANTHONY COMES 353
as Cary had once done. Then he dashed into
the study to return with a newspaper which he
spread on the rug.
"I want to tip these big drawers over," he
explained. "Have you ever done that?"
"Never/ ' said Cary, immediately helping
with the task.
"You see," Anthony added, "the only place
where there is room for a secret drawer is in
this abnormally thick front."
Having turned over the top drawer, he care-
fully scrutinized its edges, paying particular
attention to the neat dovetailing at the sides.
Nothing seemed at all unusual about either that
drawer or the second. The third, which was
empty to begin with, was in its turn reversed
and Anthony gave it the same close examina-
tion. There was absolutely no trace of a con-
"That's a wonderful bit of wood," he re-
marked, running his thumb along the edge.
"It must have cost — "
He stopped with a sudden glance at Cary,
then repeated the gesture. Nothing was visi-
ble to the eye, but to the sense of touch there
was a slight slipping of the wood under his
354 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
thumb. There came a tiny crack in the bot-
tom of the apparently solid front; the slide
yielded to the continual gentle pressure, moved
half an inch, slid entirely aside, and Cary and
Cousin Anthony bumped their heads over the
deep, narrow cavity it revealed.
Five minutes later, Candace, coming down re-
freshed from her nap, paused in amazement.
Anthony Davenport, clasping Cary's hand in
one of his own, the other wildly waving above
his head a long piece of blue paper, was exe-
cuting an extraordinary dance in the front hall
of the Butterfly House. The astonishing capers
of Anthony's gray gaiters, twinkling in time to
Cary's slippers, held Candace 's fascinated
eyes, and both dancers were madly shouting
snatches of "Tipperary."
CANDACB HAS A LETTER
Charles and Anne Dexter, returning late that
afternoon from Burlington, were genuinely
pleased to be greeted by dignified, severely de-
corous Cousin Anthony Davenport, whose
marked calm was emphasized by the unusual
flutter apparent in both girls, doubtless a little
overcome by having to receive and entertain
him during the absence of the heads of the
Anthony was charming at dinner, talked most
entertainingly, without mention of that ever
sore subject between him and his cousin Charles,
the Butterfly House. Yet Mrs. Dexter noticed
two or three glances exchanged across the table
with Cary, glances so full of mutual liking and
understanding that she concluded her friendly
little daughter must really have made quite an
impression on sober old Anthony.
After dinner, they adjourned to the library
356 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
and here something seemed unusual. Every
article had been removed from the big table
around which the family was accustomed to
gather. In the exact center of the bare top
stood a red doll chair. In the chair sat Judith.
Upon one of Judy's extended arms was pinned
a long, rather narrow official-looking piece of
blue paper; the other held a small folded note.
This peculiar arrangement caught the atten-
tion of both Mr. and Mrs. Dexter, who stopped
in surprise. The next second Charles bent for-
ward in amazement. "Warranty deed," he
read. "Nancy Dexter to Charles B. Dexter.' '
With a gasp of astonishment he turned to his
cousin. But Anthony, proper, grave, dignified
Anthony, hand in hand with Cary, was career-
ing around the library table in another dance,
one quite as finished in form and abandoned in
its ecstasy as their first attempt.
Mr. Dexter sat down abruptly. "What does
it mean?" he asked. "Stop prancing, you
crazy dervishes, and tell us where you found it. "
They stopped and told him in simple language
so that he could understand, but after all, it
looked as though he didn't, for at the conclusion
of their happy tale he still sat there, holding his
CANDACE HAS A LETTER 357
head in his hands. Neither the note in the
dolPs pocket nor the open secret drawer made
the expected impression.
"But this deed has never been recorded/'
said Mrs. Dexter, looking at the blank lines in-
tended for that purpose. "And Anthony has
been in legal possession for fifteen years."
"Anne Dexter !" shrieked Anthony, bound-
ing from the chair into which he had dropped
exhausted. "Do you want me to die of heart-
failure on the spot?"
"Hold your horses, Anthony, " said his cou-
sin, looking up. "I give in. Aunt Nancy
didn't mean to disinherit me and that is all I
care about. I would take the Butterfly House
now, even as a gift at your hands, were that
"Sane and in his right mind after fifteen
years of madness ! " breathed Anthony, mopping
his forehead with exaggerated relief. "All
that is left is for me to alter my own will, since
I can no longer give away what I don 't own. ' '
"But what became of Great-aunt Nancy's let-
ter, the one that explained things to Daddy?"
queried the excited Cary.
"We shall never know," replied her father,
358 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
still looking pale. "That lawyer died two
weeks before her, when she was too ill to make
other arrangements, perhaps even to know of
his death. No one took over his business, and
I have no idea what became of the office papers.
No one knew that this transfer existed and all
the other documents were in Aunt Nancy 's safe-
deposit box. Very likely the letter was lost. ' '
"If I had given the doll to Cary as she ex-
pected, the note in its pocket would have come to
light,' ' observed Mrs. Dexter, turning it over in
her fingers. i l But I didn % and I wouldn 't even
bring it down for Chrissy. I feel as though it
was my fault. ' '
' i Either child might have lost that note with-
out ever showing it to you, ,, said her husband,
looking up. " All it would have told us was that
there was a fourth drawer. But, Anne, Aunt
Nancy didn't mean to leave us out."
He looked at his wife with a smile that she
understood. His refusal to yield to Anthony's
urgings had not been the obstinacy denounced
by his cousin, but real pain, because he sin-
cerely loved the aunt who brought him up.
"And we have turned those drawers over
long before this," he went on. "It all hinged
CANDACE HAS A LETTER 359
on Anthony's rubbing his thumb over that
"Probably a magnifying-glass would have
shown the crack," observed his cousin. "It
was no easy job to make that cavity in the be-
ginning, and whoever did it was a master crafts-
man. ' '
"And now we shall never have to leave the
dear Butterfly House," sang Cary.
"Oh," said her father suddenly. "This
morning I received a letter from my old school
board, offering great inducements to return to
the Technical High next fall. And so you don 't
want to go, Cary!"
Not for an appreciable instant did Cary hesi-
tate. "I couldn't leave Ridgefield," she said.
"Not Amy and Janet, though I'd still have Can-
dace — -but the river and Thorn and the Butterfly
House, — oh, no, no, Daddy, don't let's go."
"And the Ridgefield High School?" queried
her father mischievously.
"I'm going to be one of its famous alumni!"
retorted Cary. "Just wait till Candace and I
are breaking records at college ; that is, till Can-
dace is. Do you want to go back, Mammy?"
We neither of us do," said Mrs. Dexter in
360 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
a voice that for her was unusually serious, "and
now," indicating the blue deed, "I don't very
well see how we can. Dear as our old home
was, still it was hard to find even a star to
"Cousin Anthony,' ' asked Cary, "do you feel
quite strong and able to dance again? Because
Candace isn't up to it yet and I feel that I
Next week, Spring came to Ridgefield to stay,
and seemed to save her sunniest smile for the
garden of the Butterfly House, where crocuses
and scilla were being crowded hard by daffodils
and hyacinths. Cary developed an unsuspected
enthusiasm for digging in the dirt, and Candace
joined her when strength permitted.
"I wish I might go back to school," she ob-
served one afternoon when both were in the
"Daddy says you can easily study up this
summer," replied Cary, digging furiously
around the roots of a peony. "He intends to
tutor you and says you can surely go on with
your class. You must, Candace, or I shall drop
back, too. I won't go to college without you.
There ! I 've scratched up everything in sight. ' '
CANDACE HAS A LETTER 361
"I only hope I can go at all," sighed Candace.
" After I finish High School I shall have to stop
and earn the money, before I even think of
"We'll see about that," replied Cary firmly.
"I wish we knew surely where Cousin Anthony
is going and if he is likely to run across the
Eidgefield boys. Janet was so happy when I
saw her at school to-day, because two letters
came through from Arthur yesterday, and
though he said he couldn't write half as much
as he'd like, because of an executioner in black
styled the Censor, — apologies to Barrie, — he
was well and busy and very contented. Mammy
is calling, — I wonder which of us. Probably
you didn't take your egg-nog, Candace Halli-
day. Oh, she wants us both. ' '
Cary dropped her trowel and pushed back
her hair from a flushed face. "This day is
positively hot," she sighed. "I'm crazy to see
what summer is going to be in this garden. I
don't believe I want to leave the Butterfly House
even to visit Grandmother Cary. If she writes
for me, you'll have to go. Look! I believe
that was a hummingbird. I saw a dash in the
362 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
Arm in arm the girls approached the porch
where Mr. and Mrs. Dexter were sitting.
"Oh, the mail, ,, Cary remarked. "Did I
have any letters !"
"No, only Candace," replied her father,
handing Candace a big envelope with an impos-
ing name in the upper corner, and a small reg-
"For me?" said Candace in surprise, for a
letter was an unusual event to a girl without
relatives, who had lived all her life in Ridge-
field. She opened it with interest, quite un-
aware of the smiles with which the older people
watched her. But she read, only to look up in
"I don't understand, ' p she stammered.
"Let me look," said Cary, leaning over her
shoulder. "Probably it's some advertisement
that you don't have to tire your head over."
Charles Dexter chuckled as Cary bent her
brows upon the sheet of paper. He was willing
to wager that his quick-witted little daughter
would grasp the essential fact that he more than
suspected the letter contained.
He was not mistaken. Cary gave a sudden
CANDACE HAS A LETTER 363
shriek, clasped her hands, and whirled madly
around on the tips of her toes.
"Candace, don't you understand? The Car-
negie Hero Fund! Look at the heading. You
haven't forgotten the truck and those little chil-
dren in the road? They are awarding you a
medal and listen, — two thousand dollars for
' educational purposes as needed' !" she quoted
from the letter. "Candace Halliday! oh, Can-
dace Halliday! Daddy, was that why you
called me in to see that man who came to ask
about it? It was? Oh, Candace!"
"Two thousand dollars won't come amiss
when you finish with the High School and are
thinking of college, will it, Candace?" asked
Aunt Anne gently. "And it is given for edu-
cational purposes only, you see."
Candace, pale but with shining eyes, sat al-
most stunned. Suddenly she turned to look up
to Thorn where stood the cottage in which An-
drew Halliday had dreamed of college for both
himself and his daughter.
Some moments passed, before Candace with
trembling fingers opened the package and looked
at the bronze medal it contained, bearing on one
364 AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
side the medallion bust of its founder, the
words " Carnegie Hero Fund" and the date of
its establishment. The reverse, beautifully de-
signed and decorated, bore within the space
provided for that purpose, the name of Candace
"Oh," said Candace in a voice that she tried
hard to keep under control, a task not rendered
easier by Cary's embracing arms, "oh, what
have I ever done to deserve all this ? To belong
in the Butterfly House and have this in addition,
just because in a moment when I didn't even
stop to think, I pulled two little children out of
' ' There is something else on your medal, Can-
dace," said Uncle Charles. "Read it and you
will understand why."
Candace looked again at the medal, decipher-
ing the tiny beautiful letters around the margin
of the reverse side.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a
man lay down his life for his friends. "